(From the left) Liz Johnston has taken over the co-ordinator’s role from Morgan-River Jones at the Columbia Youth Community Development Centre.

(From the left) Liz Johnston has taken over the co-ordinator’s role from Morgan-River Jones at the Columbia Youth Community Development Centre.

New YCDC co-ordinator eager to engage youth

New coordinator Liz Johnston has beguan preparing special programming for youth at the Columbia Youth Community Development Centre.

A new school year and a new youth co-ordinator.

Liz Johnston was hired at the Columbia Youth Community Development Centre (YCDC)  in mid-August, and recently began preparing special programming for youth.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to meet everyone,” Johnston said. “I’m ready to jump in and get busy, and get some use in here.”

She noted that now the summer doldrums have passed for young people, she planned to contact schools to raise awareness of what the centre contained.

“I want to start making connections,” she said. “I’m going to be going in there and talking with them, and letting them know what kind of programs are being offered at this moment.”

Currently, the YCDC offers movie nights for high school seniors on Monday nights 6:30-9 p.m., and juniors on Wednesday nights from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday is available for special programming, but Johnston planned to wait to finalize those plans until she got feedback from program participants.

“I want to incorporate my love of the outdoors with the youth and get some sort of outdoor recreation program going,” Johnston said, after explaining that Red Mountain lured her from Ontario to Rossland roughly 15 years ago.

“Basically I want the youth to plan what they want and I’ll work my hardest to get it for them.”

She has been researching the Columbia Basin Trust’s (CBT) Community-Directed Youth Funds (CDYF) for applications, and will be applying for financial aid through the application process.

The CDYF is part of the CBT’s recent Youth Strategic Plan to rid youth of boredom, by providing a  hub for teens between the ages of 12 and 15 years old. It ensures $100,000 to communities over a four-year period—a sum Fruitvale recently received—with funding provided in annual $25,000 payments. A CBT-related workshop is expected to take place in late-October.

In addition to seeking financial aid for the YCDC, Johnston has joined the Skate Park Committee and she has been developing an online presence with youth via Facebook.

Johnston has also been brainstorming for ideas about specialty programs, like Beauty, Brains and Badass—a program-possibility that could run for girls over the age of 13 if there is enough interest.

She wants to provide girls with opportunities to learn new skills that enhance their physical, mental and emotional well-being by exposing them to new activities, ranging from positive peer support to community mentors.

For more information about the YCDC, drop by 1504 Cedar Ave. Visit www.facebook.com/columbia.ycdc or www.columbiaycdc.ca/index.php/home.html to check for online updates, or e-mail Johnston at coordinator@ycdc.ca.