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New youth YMCA programs have opened in Gananoque

Click to play video: 'YMCA offering youth drop in services at Joel Stone Park'
YMCA offering youth drop in services at Joel Stone Park
WATCH: Programming starts July 5 and runs until Sept. 7, 2021 – Jun 25, 2021

The YMCA has joined forces with the town of Gananoque, Ont., and a number of other agencies to provide a teen drop-ins this summer.

The Gananoque fire department’s emergency services command trailer will soon be a new youth drop-in vehicle over the summer. Alterations to the interior and exterior will be done over the next couple of weeks.

Chief Scott Gee of the Gananoque Police explains the changes.

“We’re going to put some new logos on it, freshen it up, we’re going to be putting some new graphics and some banner work on it that’s youth friendly that provides a bit of identity to it” says Chief Gee.

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The youth project is being funded with $10,000 each from the town of Gananoque and the Leeds and Grenville United Way, with the Eastern Ontario YMCA kicking in $5,000 as well. The program builds on the Y’s Friday night teen program offered in Brockville.

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“We saw this as an opportunity to come to Gananoque itself an d launch program that maybe, we will build into more programming in the future” says Rob Adams, the CEO of Eastern Ontario.

The police chief says the drop-in centre will be set up in Joel Stone Park three days a week, and reflects feedback that Gananoque Police got from area youth when it was developing a municipal drug strategy.

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Chief Gee says, “We kept hearing the same thing from our youth, that they wanted a youth hub or a youth centre and a safe space to congregate”.

Adams says two staff members will be on hand at any given time, one from the YMCA and one from the RNJ Youth services.

“They can access some free Wi-Fi, some food and just hang out in a place where they feel is their own. But also, because we can expose the teens to different agencies, it makes their awareness to what else is available to them that much more,” says Adams.

The mobile youth drop-in centre will be in Joel Stone Park, opening from July 5th until Labour day. Hours of operation are Wednesday’s, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m.

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