Our Whyte Ridge: Getting the youth on board

This article has been prepared for the Sou’Wester community newsletter by Danielle Da Silva. Read the story on the website.

Rollyn and Rocelynd Tabios.Rollyn and Rocelynd Tabios are the president and secretary of Whyte Ridge Community Centre’s new junior board. The junior board is organizing a coffeehouse event on Jan. 12 featuring performances from local artists.

Youth in Whyte Ridge are taking a lead role in crafting the community they want to see.

In October, the Whyte Ridge Community Centre (170 Fleetwood Rd.) launched a junior board in an effort to get more young people involved in the programming and operations of the small club.

According to the community centre’s president Curtis Rossow, the new junior board will be hosting events, programs, and activities that will cater to a younger clientele and the centre’s 10,000-person catchment area.

“Our board is all adults and you have to be at least 18 to be on the board of the club, and it’s great for us to have meetings and try to figure out events and stuff like that, but for us to try to figure out that kids want to do, that’s not going to work every time,” Rossow explained. “So what better way to get some of the kids in the area involved than to start this junior board.

“It gives them an opportunity to discuss ways to have our club reach out to the kids in the area more.”

Rollyn Tabios, a Grade 12 student at Vincent Massey Collegiate, is the junior board’s first president. The 17-year-old said she got involved with the club in the fall after reaching out to Rossow to learn more about available volunteer opportunities.

She said the junior board sounded like an interesting chance to get to know her neighbours and gain some experience in a board position.

“Because it’s my last year I want to get more involved in the community and grow from there. After Grade 12 I won’t be able to do that kind of stuff because I’ll be busy with university,” she said.

Rollyn is joined on the board by her sister Rocelynd who is serving as secretary. The two say about 10 youth in the community are currently involved in the board and collectively they are planning their first event.

The junior board will host a coffeehouse at the community centre on Jan. 12 featuring music and dance performances from 10 local acts. Rocelynd said the performers are all students at either Vincent Massey Collegiate or Henry G. Izatt Middle School and everyone is welcome to attend the event.

“We want to have more of a sense of community with the younger generation,” Rocelynd, 14, said. “A lot of people are on the internet and on gadgets, we want the junior board to create events that will bring people out to here (the community centre).”

“It’s a place where people can hang out, and just listen to music, and chat with other people. We’ll be serving coffee and hot chocolate and some of us are bringing in baked goods that we made,” Rollyn added.

Admission to the coffeehouse is free while drinks and food will be available for purchase. The money raised will go back to the community centre’s capital fund. The junior board will also be collecting non-perishable food donations for Winnipeg Harvest. Doors open at 7 p.m.

As the junior board gets more active in the future, Rossow said the choices for kids looking to get involved in the centre will increase.

“Our community club is small; we have sports and stuff, but we don’t have a lot of other activities and not all kids are involved in sports,” he said. “So it gives an opportunity to some of those kids who aren’t involved in sports to get involved with the community centre.

“We want the ideas to come from the kids in the community,” he said.

To get involved with the junior board or to learn more, email wrccjrb@gmail.com.