A youth centre will officially be having a grand opening this week.
Operated by the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club, the Youth Impact Centre will be the first of its kind in the city, located kitty corner to Mount Baker Secondary School beside the Safeway parking lot.
“Essentially this is a youth centre meeting place for youth in middle school and in high school, so 12-18 [years old] to come and meet, then we go out into the community to do activities,” said Tim Matwey, the youth coordinator for the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club.
Matwey added that the centre eschews the traditional stereotype of a youth centre, as it is a focal point for organizing activities around the community, rather than just sitting around on couches inside a building.
Skiing, archery, rock climbing, boxing, yoga, cooking in a community kitchen are just a few examples of what the youth are doing, noted Matwey.
Currently, the program runs daily after school, but will open up into daytime hours once students break for July and August.
“Our goal is to get kids engaged in the community in positive ways with our direction and without our direction, too,” said Lori McNeill, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club.
The Youth Impact Centre, located at 203 13 – 14th Ave. S, has been undergoing renovations since the club got their hands on the space in April. They will be hosting a grand opening on Friday, June 5th from 12- 5 p.m.
There will be up to 4-6 hours of programming a day in the summer, but the onus is up to the kids to come out and see what activities they want to participate in.
Additionally, another program—CBK Youth Project—is also coordinated out of the centre thanks to support from the Columbia Basin Trust.
“That project is funding lots of collaboration between youth service providers, doing youth employment section and a youth action team, where the kids are getting involved in planning activities,” noted McNeill.
Kids were ‘graduating’ out of the Boys and Girls Club when they were younger because they’d aged out of available programming. With the CBK Youth Project, McNeill said the goal was to create a new program to connect those kids back together.
“It was just sort of a natural progression to start something like this for them and their friends,” McNeill continued.
The CBK Youth Project debuted with an Amazing Race-style event earlier in May with 40 kids attending half a dozen stations around town before wrapping up with a barbecue at Rotary Park. More programming and events are planned for the summer months.
For more information on the Boys and Girls Club and their programs, contact McNeill at 778-517-5568, through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find them on Facebook at: facebook.com/cranbrookyouthimpact.