To the Editor,
Re: Closure of Chillaxin Youth Centrw
First of all I would like to state that the Chillaxin Youth Centre is a necessity to the town of Lillooet BC and local area. The closure of the CYC is a big mistake for many reasons.
I am a young lady who used to attend the CYC when I was in high school. I am a graduate of 2009 from LSS and attended the CYC for the last three years of high school on a daily basis. The youth centre was the biggest influence on my self-esteem and if it weren’t for the youth center, I would not be the person I am today. I met numerous people with similar interests and was able to befriend people I would not normally get along with at the high school. The youth centre always taught everyone not to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, intelligence or anything you could possibly discriminate against.
The youth centre always encouraged us to focus on schoolwork and helped however they could. They taught us to work together. Everyone always pitched in to fundraise for workshops or trips to go to workshops. I still remember when our youth group was able to go to The Gathering of Voices Conference in Victoria. We learned many things about business, fitness, and culture. We also made many new friends at the conference. There was a year where we started to get less funding for workshops yet we were still able to go to a smaller scale workshop in Vancouver that was still a big influence on the lives of those who were able to attend.
My last year of high school I can remember how we started getting cutbacks on funding and everyone was saddened to have to find something else to do when the youth centre would have to close. On the days the youth centre was closed due to lack of funding, you would be able to link those days to the height of vandalism or youth-oriented crime in Lillooet. I would read the police blotter in the local paper and see these stories about youth doing horrible things and read the date they happened and say to myself, “I bet that wouldn’t have happened if the youth center was open.”
They were not only friends or family to the youth, they were also the people we looked up to and they were the people we went to for anything. Any youth who was moving up in the world would go to the youth workers at the Chillaxin Youth Centre and talk to them about what they were planning to do with their future. The workers at CYC would help how they could by writing a letter of reference or even just talking to help them decide what they wanted to do or even help research their future plans.
They always encouraged the best in us, healthy eating, healthy activities, education, career paths, friendship, the importance of family, our futures, and decisions and many things that influenced our lives. We would not be the hope of tomorrow if it were not for the Chillaxin Youth Centre.
Danielle L James