By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) will be holding youth drop-in programming at the community centre in Picture Butte beginning on Oct. 6.
The drop-in space will run every other Thursday and serve two age groups. Drop-in for youth ages seven to 12 will take place from 3:30-5 p.m., and youth ages 13-18 will be able to drop in from 6-8 p.m.
In identifying a need for a drop-in service in Picture Butte, FCSS Outreach Services Supervisor, Kaitlyn Weaver, said the Town had heard from various organizations who expressed an interest in more opportunities for youth which were not strictly centred on agriculture or sports. The Town will provide the space for the drop-in service at the community centre.
“We decided that it would be a good idea to expand into different communities,” added Weaver.
In keeping with FCSS’s mandate, the drop-in spaces will provide a space for youth to hang out. In terms of activities, Weaver said, “I really would like to just get a feel of what the youth want as it is a safe space more for them,” but said creativity-based activities which promote skill-building are at the centre of much of FCSS’s youth programming. Paper-making, games nights and movie nights are a few of the agenda items drop-in attendees can look forward to.
While there will be an opportunity to incorporate feedback and ideas from the youth attendees, Weaver added parents can feel secure in knowing the drop-in service will balance this with structured, skill-building elements as well as connecting with peers in their communities. For older teens, resources for youth preparing for or entering the workforce or post-secondary will have the opportunity to connect with youth inclusion coordinators and other volunteers.
“We will have Tiki the therapy dog coming (to both Picture Butte and Coalhurst) for a couple of days in November, so that will be really fun for them,” said Weaver.
The drop-in service will be held in Picture Butte every first and third Thursday of the month until wrapping up the 2022 year on Dec. 15.
In addition to the Picture Butte location, the FCSS-run youth drop-in service has been running for years in Coalhurst, and despite pausing the service for a time over COVID, will resume on Oct. 13 and recur every second and fourth Thursday of the month until Dec. 8.
Although dates have not yet been finaltized, the youth drop-in services in Picture Butte and Coalhurst have been confirmed to continue into 2023. Tiki the therapy dog will be in attendance on Nov. 3 and Nov. 17 in Picture Butte, and on Oct. 13 and Nov. 24 in Coalhurst. For more information, visit, FCSS.ca.