Youth advocates are urging the community to attend a meeting at the East Trail youth centre on Thursday. The site is slated to close March 1. From left: Connor Robertson, Joshua Sauder and Teara Kinakin have been part of the centre for about two years. The teenagers are disappointed there’s only weeks left to drop in, and they describe the centre as a family-like space where they feel safe and welcome.

Youth advocates are urging the community to attend a meeting at the East Trail youth centre on Thursday. The site is slated to close March 1. From left: Connor Robertson, Joshua Sauder and Teara Kinakin have been part of the centre for about two years. The teenagers are disappointed there’s only weeks left to drop in, and they describe the centre as a family-like space where they feel safe and welcome.

Community meeting set for East Trail youth centre

Youth advocates are hoping the community will step up to save the East Trail youth centre

In an eleventh hour appeal before the doors close to the East Trail youth centre, youth workers are urging the community to attend a meeting Thursday night (Feb. 15) to talk about ways to save the space or try to find a new one.

“This is to see if we can get people to come in and talk about youth spaces in Trail in general,” says Geoff Harrison, coordinator for the Trail Youth Action Network (YAN). “We’ll explain what we do, what we can do together and see if anyone has resources to help or want to volunteer with youth.”

The Columbia YCDC (Youth Community Development Centre) is a drop-in spot three days a week from 3:30-8:30 p.m. for youth ages 12 to 18 to mingle, have a snack and learn new life skills.

The site is also used for various teen-directed outreach initiatives through Freedom Quest and ANKORS, as well as a locale for Trail YAN council meetings and special events like last month’s drumming circle with COINS (Circle of Indigenous Nations Society).

“We just started to talk about big ideas moving forward, like quarterly community youth forums, then suddenly this happened,”said Harrison. “Now we are having this impromptu meeting next week instead.”

The open meeting is set for Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in the centre, located at 1696 Second Ave.

“The kids want to stand up and help and support a centre for themselves, because they want the centre of course,” said YCDC coordinator Coleman Webb. “But is that their role?

“Yes, partially it is,” he said. “But I think it’s our role as adults to create a space for them, because if you are going to lose your house, do you get your kids to go talk to the lawyer?”

For more information, Webb can be contacted at 250.368.7955 or via email at ycdccoordinator@gmail.com.

The YCDC board recently decided to dissolve the non-profit society and close the centre.

“The Board of Directors for Columbia YCDC has voted unanimously to dissolve the society as of March 1, 2018,” board president Rob Merlino told the Trail Times. “The board felt unable to continue to provide the necessary and deserved service. We are hopeful that the community and other stakeholders will rally and make it possible to provide a safe space for Trail’s youth.”