After opening its doors in 2001 the Greg Moore youth centre provides a safe and fun environment for youth to participate in positive recreation activities, and opportunities to make a difference in our community. 10 years later the centre is still considered state of the art – a distinction that longtime recreation coordinator Brian Patel talks about with great excitement. This facility, Brian says is both “innovative [in its programming]” and how it “encourages community partner ship…10 years later we are still very relevant”.
Speaking of such partnership, this facility provides youth with access to members of the RCMP who have a satellite office located on site. Officers even spend their own time participating in activities like floor hockey or pool with the kids. In addition to the RCMP – the youth centre also provides access to Drug and Alcohol Counseling through the Iron Horse and ASTRA programs. As well they have Doctors and Nurses on site (a partnership with Fraser Health) and Planned Parenthood.
Brian is quick to mention that one of their primary objectives is to “provide healthy alternatives to youth and turn non-participation into participation…and then into volunteerism.” He makes reference to the corridor just outside his office window right between the facility and Haney Place mall – and says “if we see kids hanging out there, they aren’t there for no reason…its our job to reach out to them, invite them in…and allow them to participate.”
Along these lines, some of the programs the centre offers to youth include:
- Pool and foose-ball
- Community Dances
- Leadership programs (including an annual Mountaineering trip)
- Movie nights
- Job and skills training (including food safe through their concession)
- Floor Hockey
- A youth lounge
- Rock climbing
One great story Brian often shares is how over 15 years ago a young man (16 or 17 at the time) came to them with a proposal to build skateboarding ramps for the facility. After some consideration, they gave him the opportunity and along with the municipal carpenters went to work in creating the facilities skate board ramp. Fast forward a decade and a half, and this individual now owns a highly successful international company that builds quality skateboard parks world wide!
It is not without significant work and fundraising that the Greg Moore Youth is able to provide its excellent range of programming. In early 2002 the Maple Ridge Community Foundation (MRCF) was able to provide a grant to the centre in the amount of $22,000. To this end, Brian points out that Gifts such as this “allow for [the centre] to do larger scale projects like, funding part of the purchase of a 15 passenger van, or building computer labs;” and, in turn this make an impact for the youth and the community. In the further spirit of giving, this years MRCFs citizen of the year Fred Armstrong has donated another $1000 to the centre.
After over a decade of operation, and numerous awards including BC Parks and Rec Facility of the Year, and Child and Youth Friendly Community Award for innovation – the Greg Moore Youth Centre continues its excellent work, partnerships with community organizations like the MRCF, and makes a real difference in out community.