A safe place for youth to hang out this fall in Slave Lake

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

For anyone wondering, the Nexus Youth Centre is not going to help you get through the American border faster. It’s a new youth centre starting this fall at the Community Christian Centre on 6 St SE next to the mosque.

Terry and Kathryn Adams are leading the new initiative at CCC, which is funded by an Family Community Social Services (FCSS) grant.

“Nexus means connection,” says Kathryn. “It also means the hub of interest.” It comes from Latin and part of the definition is “‘the central and most important point,’ which is a nice thing to say about a youth centre.”

“It’s open to all of Slave Lake and the MD,” says Kathryn.

“There’s no religious agenda,” Terry says.

Pastor Judy Chalmers from CCC asked Haylie Taylor, at FCSS what was the biggest need in the community. Her response was definitely, the youth, Terry says.

“Pastor Sid and Judy approached me,” says, FCSS coordinator, Haylie Taylor. “I helped them understand the FCSS grant process.”

Taylor’s background is in youth and children studies. She’s noticed a need for more programming for youth, especially with the closure of the Boys and Girls club. The new youth centre has no cost, which makes it more accessible.

Terry had approached Pastor Sid and Judy to discuss his desire to get involved in a community initiative mentoring or otherwise helping youth.

Back in Newfoundland and Labrador, both Terry and Kathryn were involved with youth work.

Kathryn is a teacher and moved to Slave Lake a year ago, August 23. Terry came a month later. Kathryn teaches at Slave Lake Koinonia Christian School.

In NL, Kathryn worked at various group homes and in other ways with children and youth. Terry worked for a child youth services monitoring supervised visits; he also volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“We also were involved in a youth program in downtown St. John’s,” Kathryn says.

“It was just a place for them to go to get them off the street,” Terry says.

“And build relationships,” Kathryn says.

Upon moving to Slave Lake, Terry looked for ways to get involved. He approached Big Brothers Big Sisters to see if there was any opportunities or possibilities of starting something in the area. He ended up running the new youth centre.

The centre opens September 5 and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 6 p.m. It is for youth aged 10 to 17.

On regular nights, there are board and card games, a quiet study area, and crafts. Once a month, there will be a video game afternoon.

“We want to focus on connection,” Kathryn says.

There are also special workshops planned. In September, there is a baking class, scavenger hunt and ice cream sundaes. Other workshops in the fall include soup making, basic auto repair, and a pumpkin carving contest.

Terry worked in IT and might put on a programming workshop. He’s open to other suggestions for workshops.

Terry and Kathryn have been overwhelmed with donations of games and even an air-hockey table.

“We have some really good volunteers in place,” Kathryn says.

There is no cost to register, but there is a registration form for insurance and safety reasons. There’s also space for more volunteers and donations of video games, gaming consoles, craft supplies, etc. People interested can contact Terry at nexusyouthsl@gmail.com.

Nexus Youth Centre leaders, Terry and Kathryn Adams, play air-hockey with their son Emery, on a table donated to the centre.

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