Boys and Girls Club developing space for 10-12 year olds

The Boys and Girls Club is looking to create some new programming, and a new space dedicated to a particular group of youth.

“We have been actively working on programs targeted for the 10 to 14 age group,” explained Erin Roussin with the organization.

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Roussin said the work dovetails with a national initiative for the organization.

“This is also on the strategic plan for our national office to work towards programming for this age group in clubs across Canada,” she said.

The hope is to create programming that resonates with the target participants.

“Youth in this age group can present challenges to engage, they are seeking age appropriate activities, and independence,” said Roussin. “They often go to places because they have the choice rather than being ‘made to’.”

For the Yorkton Club it may come down to building on past programming efforts.

“We have had success with our Bridge program for ages 10 to 14,” said Roussin. “But we see that there is still lots of work to do.”

To help generate ideas the Boys and Girls Club turned to the youth for ideas.

“We held the focus group last Tuesday to gain the insights and ideas from youth in this age group,” said Roussin. “After all who better to say what 10-year-olds want do than 10-year-olds.

“They brainstormed ideas of big picture things they would like to do in Yorkton. And brainstormed ideas of what types of activities and programs they would like to do.

“This gave us a good idea of programming ideas and where to proceed ...

“Youth at the focus group got to draw up their wish list plans/blueprints. There were a lot of ideas that meshed and showed up on each youths lists.”

Roussin said there were a lot of similarities in what the youth taking part in the brainstorming session wanted in terms of the space being developed.

The youth generally wanted things that will provide them activities, or just to enjoy while hanging out including a shelf or art supplies, age-appropriate books, blankets, popcorn and hot chocolate makers and of course a television.

“They’re really excited to have a space of their own,” said Roussin.

The process and programming is being helped along by a recent donation.

“We received an anonymous donation in memory of Katherine Wach, who had requested donations to the Club in lieu of flowers,” explained Roussin. “Katherine was a big supporter of our work and loved the idea of children and youth staying busy, having something to do and being well fed and warm.

“We decided to put the donation towards a program space redecoration. We are designating a space upstairs in the Middle Years Centre for youth ages 10 to 12 to hang out and have programming in. This space we are calling The Lounge for now will allow these youth age appropriate activities, books and games as well as a space to take part in leadership and teamwork activities.”

And there will be an educational component woven in.

“They will be doing some service learning as a part of the programming plans,” said Roussin.

Now it comes down to finalizing ideas and implementing the program.\

“Going forward in the next couple months we will be transforming the space to meet their needs,” said Roussin.

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