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Jean Marie River starts new facility for youth and elders
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The finishing touches are being done on the community's Youth and Elders Centre, a first for the community, said Allan Browning, the recreation co-ordinator.
"It's going to be a place of their own for our youths and elders," Browning said.
The direction to start a centre came from the Jean Marie River First Nation's chief and council. They had been getting a lot of interest from residents in a facility like this, Browning said.
Currently youths spend a lot of their free time in the community's gym that is attached to the band office. It's difficult for the band staff to concentrate on their work because the kids are always running in and out, he said.
The centre is housed in a brand new trailer that was brought into the community in June. The trailer is now equipped with all new furnishings including plush couches, a fridge and stove as well as a flat screen television and two computers.
"It's amazing, everything's brand new. Everything's so nice," Browning said.
The centre's official opening is expected to take place in late January or February but it will be opened unofficially during the holidays. The facility has endless possibilities, Browning said.
Browning hopes to bridge the gap between the elders and the youths in the community. Cultural activities will be the primary focus.
The community has funding to participate in the Take A Kid Trapping Program. Youths will be going out on snowshoes to set snares and traps. Back at the centre elders can show them how to clean the trapped animals and cook with the meat, he said.
During the day the centre will be open so elders can come in and have some tea and coffee and visit, he said.
The centre will also be open to the whole community as a place to participate in recreation, cultural and sports activities, said Browning. The chief and council and elders' council have also been invited to hold their meetings in the centre
As the final plans for the centre are put in place Browning said he will be consulting with community members for their input.
Alisha Grossetete, 12, said she's looking forward to the center's official opening.
"It's cool," she said about the facility.
The centre will be good for when youths in the community are bored on weekends or when it's cold outside, she said. Grossetete said she wants to play board games and computer games in the centre.
Margaret Ireland, who liaises with the community's elders, has taken some of the elders for a tour of the centre.
It's too early to say what they think of the facility, said Ireland. The elders did say they want to see a program established so they can get together and cook with the youths, she said.