Kemptville Youth Centre receives much-needed funding for summer programs

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The Kemptville Youth Centre (KYC) is receiving a grant from Jumpstart’s Sports Relief Fund to support this year’s summer programs.

The Sports Relief Fund was created to help support sport organizations across the country who have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Jumpstart’s website, they were able to help 700 organizations impacting over 70,000 kids from coast to coast in the final months of 2020. Thanks to a generous $12 million gift from the Canadian Tire Corporation to the Sports Relief Fund, Jumpstart is able to provide much needed financial support to Canadian sporting organizations through 2021.

KYC Operations Manager, Barb Tobin, says the $5900 grant will help them provide outdoor programming to youth 12-18 this summer. This includes entrance fees to local parks, canoe and kayak rentals and swimming at the Kemptville pool. They are also hoping to team up with local experts to provide experiences that some of the youth may not otherwise have access to. During the winter, they were able to book a session with Get Cronk’d Fitness Studio using some previous Jumpstart funding, which was very well received by KYC youth. “This summer, we hope to be able to utilize some of our fitness experts in the community, and be able to rent some time and space for our youth to know what’s in the community, and also have a great time doing some recreational activity,” Barb says.

Barb says this funding is even more crucial this year because it will allow the youth in the community to come together in a safe way. Although all the online programming that KYC has been offering over the past year has been very successful, nothing can replace that in-person connection that many teens are craving. “What we do know for sure is when it’s face to face, it’s certainly changed the game for a lot of youth to be able to have the opportunity to get out and be with their friends, enjoy something, forget about everything else and just enjoy themselves doing an activity or just hanging out or getting some exercise.”

Being able to offer free activities throughout the summer will also allow youth who may have had a change in financial situation at home, to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about having to pay. “Being able to offer youth the ability to do things for free, which is all part of this programming, is a really big bonus in this particular time,” Barb says.

KYC is currently closed but is continuing to offer daily activities online from Monday to Friday. Barb says it didn’t take them long at the start of the pandemic to set up an online platform where they have been offering everything from organized games and movies, to homework help and a cooking program. They have also been very active in reaching out to youth to see what different types of programming they are interested in.

Like everything in the community, KYC is in limbo right now, waiting to see when they will be able to open their doors and start offering their summer programming. Barb believes that they probably won’t be up and running until mid-July. “If you watch our Facebook and Instagram pages, our program coordinator, Micaela, will be able to highlight when activities are happening and how to contact her to make sure that youth are included,” she says.

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