At the Nelson and District Youth Centre you can grow your own food, jam out in the music room, go for a short skateboard and then spend some time working with a mentor on a variety of artistic endeavours.
And that’s just the beginning of what the staff have in mind for the community, according to program coordinator Stephanie Meitz.
“The square footage of this place is like 10,000 square feet — we’ve got an art studio, a music room, a kitchen — and it’s all being under-utilized. We’ve got a lot of really skilled people here with specific expertise and qualities, and we’re trying to get more people through the doors,” she told the Star.
Meitz’s team includes skateboarder Glen Rowley, dancer Nadia Abdella, singer Naomi Cromwell, outreach worker Bonnie Talbot and practicum student Merope Chappel — who led a program for kids where they sourced local products and learned how to make their own food.
Over the summer there will be yoga classes, art camps, dance classes and mentorship opportunities. And this week to kick off the season they blocked off the street to host the School’s Out Dance Party!
“One thing I really like about being here is I got the chance to define my own role,” said Cromwell. “I really want to focus on mentorships, because there’s lots of artists and musicians I know in the community who want to work with youth — and not in a formal, lesson-y kind of way, but more like a teach-by-example way where you share your passion.”
One thing under discussion is the name and logo of the centre, which are slated to be rebranded.
“As long as the community and the youth have input into what the name is and what it’s going to look like, I think that will be really fun,” said Meitz.