Mike Symons has lived in such varied places as China and on the Island, but he’s always had designs of living somewhere else.
“I feel like I got spoiled growing up on the Island, but I’ve always wanted to come and live in the mountains and the Rockies specifically,” he said.
Symons has worked with teenagers and young adults for a good portion of his working life, including a stint in China as an ESL teacher.
Now as Golden’s new Youth Centre Coordinator (through Golden Community Resources Society) and Men’s Services Program Assistant & Teen Group Facilitator (through the Golden Family Centre), Symons hopes he can bring his extensive experience to these programs.
There are many reasons Symons enjoys working with youth, but one that really stands out.
“I like youth energy,” he said. “I like the challenge of it…I’m kind of a large teen myself.”
Having been here for a few weeks, Symons has already started to get to know some of the youth who frequent the centre.
“They’ve got all sorts of neat artistic talents and some of them are some of the funniest people I’ve ever met, they’re super clever,” he said.
He also hopes to draw in more international students living in Golden, of which only a few frequent the youth centre at the moment.
As for his work with the family centre, Symons has helped develop a survey to better define the men’s support services that exist in Golden. The goal of the survey is to discover which services are being used and which ones are missing from the community. (For more information on the survey, see page 12.)
Symons has a certain idea of what his men’s group will look like, but also stressed that the program will depend on the makeup of the group.
“The group kind of seeks to (establish) how we define masculinity, so we’ll hopefully be able to have speakers come in but it depends what the group looks like. It’s going to be specific to what kind of members we can attract and where there is a need,” Symons said.
Males aged 19-99 are welcome to join the group once it begins (likely in the new year).
“No centenarians,” Symons joked. “But we’ll see if we can make some exceptions.”
Anyone who wishes to meet Symons is welcome to drop by and talk to him on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays in his office at the Youth Centre from noon onwards.
“If the Christmas lights are on, I’m in that space,” he said