I love learning about resources and places and programs in the inner city of Winnipeg. AYO began at Circle of Life Thunderbird House. Our PolitiX initiative has been centralized at United Way of Winnipeg. Meet Me @ the Bell Tower partners with many but our biggest ally is the Indian Family Centre. The new Selkirk Avenue Banners were a result of working with the City of Winnipeg & the Selkirk Avenue BIZ. Because of this past success I love learning about what other resources there are.
I recently asked my social media friends if anyone had ever been to the Youth for Christ Centre of Youth Excellence on Higgins/Main. Many people commented, and so I was intrigued to check it out for myself.
I had previously (in May/June) been to the building twice before during mid afternoon and both times was told I could not come in and speak with anyone until 7pm.Finally, on Monday August 16th, I headed over to the YFC Centre of Youth Excellence and finally met with success! The first trick is you have to go around to the back of the building. The street address is 333 King Street and the building is ‘backwards’ to the rest of higgins/main. When I tried the first 2 times I went to doors on the other side which I are not entrances.
So, once inside I met the receptionist who was a young lady and was very helpful. She shared the resources and summary information with me. I asked about the drop in centre she mentioned and she called the staff from their drop in (The Atrium) to come talk with me. Derek was able to give me a quick tour of the building and it all was pretty interesting. Check out what I learned.
obviously these guys have a slick youth drop in; it includes video games, pool tables, ping pong, a canteen where you can buy snacks and a mini climbing wall (10 feet)! The Atrium is open to youth ages 12-17 from 7-10pm from Monday-Thursday, and from 7-11pm on Fridays You can attend there once, but after that you have to sign a ‘participation waiver form’ w/parent contact, medical info etc. You also have to fill out a parent and student release statement that has a photo/media waiver and explains you can be disciplined for acting out (drugs/alcohol etc and if you get sent home its at your parent’s expense). It also has a waiver that says it wants to help kids grow spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally using the Bible to guide their relationship with God.
Yup, that huge climbing wall you can see from the outside of the building is a functional, 50 foot climbing wall. You can also climb on the outside of the building! It also has a similar Participation Waiver Form and Parental and Student Release Statement. I am guessing here, but I assume those probably have to be filled out BEFORE they let you.
Now this, was cool.It had multi-level seating, programming mostly for youth under 17, but had one day of 18+ and also one day of girls skate. It also had similar waiver that must be signed and also had a fee. You had to pay anywhere between $2 and $7 to skate their each time. Also, it is only open on Wednesdays and Fridays for 3 hours in the evening. The staff told me that in the summer no one goes there so they shut down and send their skate staff to the forks to hang with the skaters there. When I checked the website this one seemed a little bit more geared towards integrating bible studies with skating culture. They also have a skate team that can make presentations. It can be rented out too!
State of the art fitness facility that is really cool with tons of programs and additional activities. They usually encourage only kids 14 and up to begin weight training due to physical maturity. It also has a Participation Waiver Form and the same Parental Student Release Statement. It also has a medical questionnaire and some handout called PAR-Q that is info about physical activity.
Tours & Counselling & Rentals
Tours for the general public of the new Centre for Youth Excellence facility are on Tuesdays at 10am and Thursdays at 2pm. They want ppl to call ahead to the receptionist (204) 669-4205 to RSVP. There is also bible based counselling to youth and parents if they are interested through a program called Turning Point. They are also available to rent out the various spaces when they are not in use. Most of the second floor is administrative offices, and the counselling area and the fitness centre.
So What Now?
Well, I invited the staff person Derek to come to the Bell Tower when he can and invite youth to their facility. He also encouraged me to get a group tour, so if anyone wants to come to a little tour of the facility, let me know. I had an overall pleasurable experience. The building seems underutilized, but I am not sure what their capacity is as an organization. I know they have another program called WORK FORCE that operates out of a Church on Burrows/Aikins.