The youth in Golden are looking for a place to call their own and the hope is by this Fall their goal will be reached.
Sara Nichols is the Youth Co-ordinator for the Golden Youth Action Group (YAG).
“Our project began last fall. A group of youth and community organizations came together to see what was needed for youth in the community. and working with The group successfully applied for Columbia Basin Trust Community Directed Youth Funds and worked with CBT staff to identify the first step forward on meeting the priority of youth. they have been working to find out what youth priorities were,” Nichols said.
After completing a survey of more than 400 local youth, the group came to the conclusion the number one thing local youth were interested in was having a youth centre in the town.
The group was successful in applying to CBT’s Community and Initiatives Program and now has the funding to operate the Youth Centre beginning in the fall. “We are opening a youth centre in the fall,” Nichols said. “This is a big announcement.”
Nichols said the group is excited about the potential for having the youth centre in Golden but is also realistic there is still a great deal of work which has to be done before the goal is realized.
“We have an amazing group of engaged youth leading the process. We realize a few of our key members are graduating and we need to continue to engage other youth both to be leaders of the Youth Centre and to use the Youth Centre space and programs.
“There are a number of challenges. We are looking at how to make the youth centre sustainable. Make sure that it appeals to a wide variety of youth and be a positive place where parents feels comfortable to leave their teen students. Our goal is to create a place with a broad appeal.”
The group is looking at many different places that could be suitable for the goals of the youth centre meet group’s needs. In the early stages they are taking many things into account; including: the size of the space, what the youth want to have in the centre, location and possibility of sharing the space with another group are all being taken into account.
“We realize this will have to be fun. It needs to be cool and a place where youth can enjoy themselves,” Nichols said.
She went on to say the group has already received funding to get some sound equipment so there could be jam nights held while also looking at how to make the centre a place for youth to participate in a variety of programming, both scheduled and drop in to work with (for example) artists where they can learn about something artistic.
“Everyone wants to know which space. At this point we are trying to focus on the bigger picture of what do we want in the centre and what is available in the community,” Nichols said.
A key to this project is working together as a united group to create something special in the area according to Nichols.
“We are looking for input from the community. We are hoping to get positive and constructive input to what can be in that space. If you are a parent and want to see something for your teenager, what do you want to see? What excites both youth and adults and how can this be something we are all proud to have in the community?,” Nichols said. “We know that there are challenges. We hope the community will be behind us so we can address any issues. The other thing is we have heard this for many years. The youth need to have a space like this where they can go and be a priority in the community.”
Currently the hope is to have a space secured in August and open in September. The group is looking for anyone who may be able to help with the renovation of the space before the opening
If you want to learn more about the project, contribute your skills or ideas please email Nichols at firstname.lastname@example.org.