LETTER TO THE EDITOR

On Tuesday night, April 22nd, teens from the town presented council with a very professional Power Point presentation regarding the Youth Center in the Community Centre. Approximately 60 youth attended. The TR Youth Society is presently running the Teen Centre. The presentation to Mayor and Council were asking to be part of the decision-making in the running of the Teen Center. At present, the kids feel that they have no say and because of how it is currently run they feel it is not an inviting place to be. The Teens proposed a partnership between the TR Youth Society and themselves. In their presentation they proposed a board of six kids (one from each grade 7 -12), four Society members, and two from the District. This would give a board of six kids and six adults. As parents, we would like to show our support for their proposal.

We have heard the statement ?Those kids do not go to the Youth Centre anyway?. When we heard this, we wondered why those kids do not go there, so we started talking to some kids and found that we were hearing very similar concerns. We have listed a few things we have heard from our teenagers.

-They want an age restriction of 12 -18. At present little kids are allowed there and if the kids are horsing around they worry about hurting the little ones. -They want a place they can hang out and call their own and they way it is set up now they feel they cannot do that. -They wanted more organized group activities. -They want to be a part of the decision-making. -They want to be able to listen to their music and not Christian music.

In their presentation, the kids had used hockey as an example of one of the activities that they would like to see at the youth centre and Councillor White responded that Minor Hockey addresses those needs. Our question to Councillor White is what about the kids who are unable to play any organized sports because their parents may not be able to afford the fees and the many costs that are associated with these sports. The youth centre could help fill that need for those kids.

Councillor Holmlund stated, ?The kids are our future we need to support them? when the PAC Committee approached Council for money. When the kids presented their Teen Centre presentation no such words came forth for their delegation and all that was expressed from Councillor Holmlund was the concern for the present society.

A few days after the meeting, we heard that some people felt the delegation was a joke, as there were a few kids in the group that were known to be troublemakers in the community. Our thoughts when we heard this was yes maybe there were a couple kids that have had some problems but what about the other 58 kids that showed their support ? these kids do not count? And the fact that these so-called troubled teens were there means they need the chance to have their voices heard and to help with the decisions that is after all a place that is meant for them. Empower the youth and they will show what they can do.

The kids are also concerned with the religious aspect of the current Teen Centre. They are not trying to take anything away from the kids who practice Christianity but feel that belongs in the Church where they already have youth groups, not taking place in a facility that is meant for all teens. There needs to be a place that all kids can go to, not just a select few.

People talk about lack of volunteers, we have a group of young eager minds that want to involve themselves, and they are now facing a wall. You would think Youth Services would welcome their input and enthusiasm after all is this not what the Teen Centre is all about.

Benefits by Forming a Partnership between the Teens & TR Youth Society

These kids are now role models for the next generation and what better example can you have.

– Seeing how the democratic process works. -Getting all the kids out, not just a specific few. -They have a place they can call their own and parents will know where their kids are. – Gives the youth ownership, which in turn promotes confidence, self-esteem, team building skills and community values. – Kids are needed for their ideas and input. – Adults are needed for guidance and to help the teens accomplish their goals.

The important thing to remember about the Youth Centre is that it is not about us adults or the society who runs it; it is about the kids having a place that all the kids can call their own. So let us help empower the teens and give them a chance to prove themselves. After all, they are our future!

Tumbler Ridge petition signatures