180 SI ? Invasion in Tumbler Ridge?

Water balloons sailed through the air, teens were bounced by the giant ?garbage ball?, wrestled for their lives in a pit of Jello, escaped from the KGB, jammed together, hung out, learned hip hop dances and more. The streets of Tumbler Ridge may never be the same after the invasion by 180 SI, a team of youth who had been specifically trained for this mission; to come, have fun and talk about things that really matter. More than 40 local youth attended the events which took place August sixth through eleventh.

180 SI is a branch of Street Invaders (a Canadian based youth project that trains youth in building community and sharing their faith). Local youth coordinators Ben & Val Kostamo ran the pilot project for 180 SI in Prince George this summer. ?Our goal was to introduce this top quality program to northern BC?. Ben has been working with the Street Invaders organization for over five years.

The program begins with a week-long boot camp in Prince George which received rave reviews from the kids who attended. After the boot camp, the youth are divided into teams and sent out into various communities within the region.

Tumbler Ridge was one of the hosting communities for 180 SI. They were brought in by House on the Rock Community Church and the Wilderness Family Conference, with most of the events taking place in and around the Teen Centre (the Teen Centre?s purpose is to promote positive community building for the youth, and has no religious affiliation itself). The community was able to benefit from a great week of fun arts, entertainment, games, and hearing a positive message of hope, as teens shared their faith with other teens. Some of the comments we heard were, ?Garbage ball was really fun, and I really enjoyed the singing, it touched me? Sharai Zimmer, and ?The Jello wrestling was lots of fun and great, but very sticky when it was done. Getting sprayed off with the hose was fun after it was all over? Justin Zimmer. ?I really enjoyed this week? said Melissa St. Clair. ?The people were great and the games and stuff were so much fun.?

The entire week of events saw friendships formed, teens challenged, and local youth given the opportunity to enjoy something completely different. Parent?s and youth alike raved about the activities. ?It is great to have something like this come into the community,? said former Youth Worker Steve Drover. ?Very often the teen population is overlooked when events are being planned for Tumbler Ridge. We plan events for children and for adults but often forget about the youth of the town. I?m really grateful for the Teen Centre and the positive impact it is having on the youth in the community.