Some people think that South Georgian Bay is a mecca for retirees but they are missing the fact that there is a growing population of younger families and couples. I recently had the pleasure of touring the new Collingwood Youth Center on first St and wow, what a place it is!
17 local organizations, led by the Rotary Club of Collingwood South Georgian Bay, got together to deliver programming in this modern and well equipped facility that comes complete with ping pong tables, sound rooms, a tech lab with computers systems set up to help with everything from coding to video editing, a full kitchen and, there are programs on creative arts, financial literacy and more.
Billed on their website as an, “after-school and weekend hang-out! The Collingwood Youth Centre is your safe space to socialize with friends and mentors where you will feel included and welcome. The Collingwood Youth Centre is for youth ages 12-18 to meet in a safe, supportive, and fun environment.”
Since the centre opened its doors in October, the centre has seen more than 300 youth and on average, there are about 30 kids a day making use of the equipment or taking part in the free programs. Collingwood’s Director of Marketing and Business Development, Martin Rydlo, stated in a recent interview that youth are able to build employable skills, learn about potential employers and connect with relevant support services through the youth centre.
Collingwood has been recognized as an innovative community of many firsts and I suspect the unique model established in this youth centre will see it become one to emulate in other towns and cities.