The Youth Centre

When I was a fourteen year old named Rainbow, I began my work with the Town of Newmarket and met a friend named Cracker as we played Huckle Buckle and Flinch at Camp Newlaka. I could write pages and pages about stories from our years as camp counsellors as summers turned into university days and camp socials turned into every other weekend spent together. From floaters to directors to coordinators to building monitors and programmers, here I am twelve years later, giving her my resignation from the Town of Newmakret.

Throughout my high school and university years I always had a home at the Youth Centre. After I finished my time at camp, I still held on to the Town by sticking around for a shift here and there at the Youth Centre. When I felt like my life had fallen apart after England, the Youth Centre welcomed me back with open arms, no questions asked. Even when I thought I was done as I started a full time job at the YMCA, the Youth Centre wheeled me back in for one shift a week. And when I said I’ll just stay on call, the Youth Centre called. And I answered.

Now this is a blog about my life with IBD and I’m sure it seems unrelated. But I want to make note as to how the Youth Centre has been there for every flare, and every remission. The Newmarket Youth Centre is a place that welcomes everyone. Kids from all ages come to skate board, shoot hoops, watch movies, learn to cook, socialize, hang out, compete, train, and play. For me however, the Youth Centre has been a place where I can work, interact, grow, train, socialize, teach, and learn. And every time, I am the one welcomed.

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The Youth Centre teaches kids who have a passion for something to put aside their differences, and use their time to improve and learn from each other. They come from all schools, and towns and ways of life to ride. And they watch and compete and grow up in the Skate Park or gym. I’ve watched the local kids drastically improve their skill level, and mature into young staff I now call my coworkers. And as I call these coworkers, some who are 10 years younger than me, my friends, I realize that it is time to move on.

I’ve been extremely thankful for the past several years at the Youth Centre. For the days that I was not able to work at the YMCA because of the physical demand of the job, the Youth Centre has been a place that I can still earn some money, while having access to a washroom, and I feel safe enough around the people to vocalize my needs. The people there have gone above and beyond to cover shifts I’ve needed off, and pick up my slack, and then welcome me back with open arms once I was well enough. And then sure enough when I became ill again, they had my back covering me no question.

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I want my coworkers to know the following: You have become my friends and my little YC family. You don’t understand how much you mean to me unless you really ask yourself why would someone my age stick around for so long at RYC? Thank you for every hospital visit, shift covered, bathroom break, potluck lunch, coffee run, rant, laugh and memory. Appreciate what a good place the Youth Centre is and don’t take for granted what an awesome job you have! Be confident to talk to parents and interact with all the kids because there are some AMAZING families that come just because we have some AMAZING staff. I’m proud of the young adults you are and believe whatever steps you take after high school, you’re going to be awesome….and will probably come back to the Youth Centre at some point. So I’ll see ya there.

And to Cracker (and Coach): You’re going to make the Youth Centre EVEN better than what it is. I’m proud to have grown up with you in the Town and the career you’ve made for yourself. Keep working hard and good things will keep coming. Thank you for making a shitty year manageable and always welcoming me back to the Youth Centre.

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