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Youth Centre opens doors

Open house to showcase free activities and resources

With its graffiti-covered exterior walls, the Squamish Youth Resource Centre blends neatly into the nearby skate park and the woods surrounding Howe Sound Secondary School.

It's easy to miss if you're not looking. But inside those walls, kids are busy playing pool, surfing the web and obtaining valuable advice from the three youth workers who oversee the centre.

And because the centre is usually restricted to kids ages 13 to 19, the team of youth workers is hosting its ninth annual open house to allow parents and other local residents a glimpse into all the centre has to offer on Saturday (June 27).

"It's a chance for community members, council members, parents, teachers, anyone to come in and see what we're about, what we offer and what the kids do here," said youth worker Madeleine Somerville.

"We're a bridge between the youth and the services that they need and a place for them to hang out."

The centre, which is provided by the Sea to Sky Community Services Society and funded by the District of Squamish, was founded on the belief that all kids deserve a safe place to take part in free activities and gain access to food, shower facilities and clothing.

The centre is open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and from 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The kids are free to spend their time as they please or take part in scheduled events such as drama, crafts and organized sports tournaments.

The centre also plans out trips. Most recently, a group ventured to Whistler to enjoy a day of zip trekking.

"I like all the kids that come here," said a 15-year-old girl who has been visiting the centre for two years (staff asked that her name not be used).

"It's fun playing pool and using the computers. I get to meet new kids and the out trips are a lot of fun, too."

Between 15 and 45 kids visit the centre on any given day, said youth worker Renee Theoret.

"I think in the last couple of years we actually tripled our numbers," she said.

The open house runs from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a barbecue, raffles, activities for youth and a meet and greet with staff members. The centre is located at 1135 Carson Pl., between the skate park and Howe Sound Secondary School.

Donations of items like furniture and games are always welcome. Those who wish to make a donation can contact the centre at 604-892-2207.

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