YCC Magazine

Vol.3 Issue 1

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Y outh Centres have been a profoundly important concept within communities for decades. Youth need a safe space to gather and improve their life skills, other than school or at home. Having this space allows youth to build important relationships with positive role models and other youth around them. Although you can find a diverse amount of youth programming in Canada, most youth organizations follow a similar traditional model. The programs are usually staff led and highly scheduled, with a goal to educate the youth on specific topics. Youth Centres often partner with other organizations within the community for certain programming to benefit the youth. However, is tradition the only method that works to encourage youth development? The City of Maple Ridge, British Columbia has taken a twist on youth programming and are stepping away from the traditional model! Youth services in Maple Ridge started in the 1980s and have continued to grow and develop ever since. The Greg Moore Youth Recreation Centre opened in October of 2001 with the vision that "the facility would include both active and passive recreation areas, leadership and life skill training areas, as well as space for community service providers that work in the area of prevention with youth." As time went on they decided to develop a model called a Social Recreation Model; where programmers work with the youth directly to develop recreational opportunities and the focus on the process is as valuable as the outcome. The message being that the events or outcomes have a start and end, however, their learnings last forever and springboard them to greater things. The Social Recreation Model has lead to an increased number of drop-in hours and detailed programming happens over a short term. The youth are fully involved in the planning and execution of the programs and activities found at the youth centre. The community of Maple Ridge is working for Positive Youth Development, where youth are seen as contributing partners with strengths to offer. If the community invests in the development of youth, the youth will, in turn, invest in the development of the community. "Youth are our future and an investment in them today is an investment for a healthy community tomorrow" - Brian Patel (Youth Services Coordinator) Concerning the location of the youth centre and youth services of Maple Ridge, the community has decided to develop a "one-stop shopping and co-location concept." Most of the youth services available in Maple Ridge, including Greg Moore Youth Recreation Centre, reside at 11925 Haney Place; better known as the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre. This unique layout is highly effective for the youth centre because it makes so many resources easily accessible to youth. As for services and partnerships, the Youth centre is home to the RCMP satellite offices, a Youth Wellness Centre staffed with Physicians and Psychologists with a focus on youth mental health, The Iron Horse Youth Health Clinic, Social workers, Aboriginal support workers, and a variety of other youth-related preventative and early intervention resources. Having these services at hand allows for professionals to work in the same space as the youth. The youth can take advantage of their services and learn from their professions as well. Maple Ridge believes in the importance of building community partnerships and professional relationships because it supports the work of the youth centre as well as the partners. These partnerships allow the youth to feel supported by their community, not just their youth centre. As stated before, Maple Ridge Youth Services believes that youth should be directly involved with programming and how they wish to develop their skills. The Greg Moore Youth Recreation Centre and the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre provides the resources that youth need to develop these programs. The GMYC houses an indoor skatepark, rock climbing and bouldering wall, lounge, computer and music spaces,teach kitchen and concession for youth training opportunities and multipurpose spaces with an assortment of sports and activity options. The youth centre is one of the largest in Canada and is an award-winning facility! In 2011, The Youth centre was 12 EVOLVING FROM TRADITIONS: MAPLE RIDGE PARKS RECREATION & CULTURE - YOUTH SERVICES AND THE SOCIAL RECREATION MODEL

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