Chestermere's community is continuing to grow and a group of adults saw the need for the teens in the community to have a place to call their own.
Those involved in bringing this idea to fruition did their research explained General Manager of the Chestermere Rec Centre Jody Nouwen, "There's been a need in this community, that's based a lot on information from the not-for-profits we've been talking about activities for youth and just being able to have somewhere to go nights and weekends."
Nouwen said that prior to COVID when they saw a need, there was a group that applied for grant funding and received it and then COVID hit and the project was put on the back burner, until now.
"We were like let's get some momentum on this and do it, so with help from Rotary, Synergy, Olympus Boxing, and the Chestermere Rec Centre the four groups got together and within two months we ended up getting it all together and we're opening."
Nouwen mentioned, there is a terrific youth group in the neighbourhood called Synergy, but the youth rec centre will be less structured and more developed on a drop-in basis, she underlined the need and respect for both youth groups.
"We wanted a place where they can express themselves, a safe inclusive space is what we're looking to offer," the centre will offer a variety of games, recreation, crafts and board games along with other activities.
Nouwen is excited to have leaders on-site for the youth that visits because she believes it will make them feel accepted and supported in the environment.
"There's also a leader that will be here at all times and that leader is trained on how to support them, so if the youth is having problems at home or problems at school this person is going to be able to help connect them to any of the supports within the community."
Currently, the youth centre which is located on the second floor of the Chestermere Rec Centre is open for teens aged 12-16 from 4-8 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
They are working to be open and accessible to the community more but as Nouwen stated it all comes down to funding for programs and endeavours such as this one.
For those wanting to potentially get involved either as a youth, an adult who may want to volunteer or offer possibly programming, or for those that may want to help financially Noewen said she can be reached at the Chestermere Rec Centre and is open to chatting with everyone about what they are building.
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