While all of us have been impacted in some way by the pandemic, the effects on youth have been significant – from the isolation to the cancellation of sports and programming, building those vital community connections has been challenging.
Saanich Recreation is here to help with its variety of youth-focused opportunities.
“We know youth have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” says Maddie Parks, youth programmer with Saanich Recreation. “We want kids to be open to coming into our spaces, without any barriers.”
Open to people of all genders, sexualities, bodies, ancestries, cultures and abilities, Saanich’s youth programming and three youth centres, open to youth 11 to 17 years old, can help build those connections, and tap into the many diverse interests youth may have, including arts and crafts, sports, board and video games, and more.
In accordance with current public health protocols, registration is now required for all Saanich youth programs, including youth centre drop-in, but it’s quick and easy, and can be done right up until program time, space permitting – register online or call your local Saanich recreation centre.
- At Gordon Head Recreation Centre, The Backdoor is located adjacent to the skate park and offers a full kitchen, XBox, pool, ping pong and foosball, “and as many art supplies as any kid could want,” Maddie says.
- At Saanich Commonwealth Place, The Upside has a sound studio, video games, kitchen, ping pong, pool, air hockey and more.
- At Pearkes Recreation Centre, The Flipside had been allocated to the Saanich fire department for the last little while, but is set to reopen with the usual activities. “We’re super-excited to welcome everyone back this spring,” Maddie says.
While Cedar Hill Rec Centre doesn’t have a full teen centre, it hosts a variety of program opportunities, including youth drop-in sports and activities, racquet sports, the Arts Centre and weight room, for example.
In addition to drop-in after-school activities for middle and high-schoolers, scheduled programming and events also help build connections, including drop-ins for LGBTQ2S+
“We offer an array of activities and it’s all low-cost or free,” Maddie says. At the Upside, for example, there’s the Friday night pizza dinner, swim and a movie, all for $10. And at Pearkes, youth can drop in for pizza and a skate for $5.
It’s all about ensuring youth feel comfortable in their local rec centre, so they can start building life-long connections and exploring some of the many other opportunities open to them, from working as a swim instructor or lifeguard, to working out in the weight room.
In fact, all youth 13 to 16 years old can register for a free weight room orientation. With the orientation under their belt, they can then use their Saanich Continuous Access Pass – just $30 per month – to drop in to the weight room, not to mention skating, swimming, youth-specific drop-in sports and a variety of other opportunities.
Come get busy today with Saanich Recreation!