Group Group Youth Society AGM 2021

Annual General Meeting

March 8, 2021

Executive Director's Report

Good afternoon everyone! Thank you for joining us to take part in the 34th Annual General Meeting of our society.

Yes, for 34 years now we have been providing social, educational, and recreational opportunities for the young people of Pincher Creek and area. Today we will be looking back over the past year – and also looking forward to the months ahead.

And, yes, the past year has been a year like no other. Due to COVID-19, the Drop-In Centre had to close the doors to our kids in mid-March. Then, amid great excitement, we were able to open again in early July - just in time to welcome our summer student worker and to regain some sense of normality. Then, as COVID restrictions were tightened, we only just managed to provide our fall practicum student with her full six weeks before having to put an end to most projects and activities yet again.

Over the past year, in spite of COVID-19 closures and restrictions, we saw 103 individual youngsters come through our doors at the Centre. The “guys” made up just slightly over 50% of attendance. About 25% of all attendees were First Nations young people.

Again, for 2020, Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) provided about two-thirds of the funds for our budget. The Provincial Government’s Community Initiative Program (CIP) provided close to the other third. Donations and fundraising filled in the rest.

After mid-March, COVID restrictions certainly limited programing. No more Gym Nights and craft sessions. No more Kid’s Kitchen, although we were able to have kids prepare their own simple snacks here in the kitchen. Kids, with masks and sanitized hands, sat at the video games or on the computers.

Our Jr. Staff kids helped make good use of their time here during partial shutdowns by focusing on several strategies to help others in the community. We worked in a few photography trips out into the country side. With our new photo printer we were able to make copies of some pretty impressive photographs. This lead to our “gift bags for seniors” project with Vista Village. Decorated paper bags were each filled with handcrafted “art work” and a greeting card made with a photo of local scenery taken by a youth member.

Under the leadership of our summer student, who secured funding for COVID Prevention Kits, Jr. Staff helped in compiling and distributing these kits. The kits contained masks, hand sanitizer, etc. all secured in a handy cloth bag.

Later, in the fall, our Jr. Staff had great fun filling small backpacks with toys, books and games for the kids who come, with their moms, into the local Women’s Shelter. (With careful shopping and collecting, it was amazing how many great little items we managed to secure.)

In spite of COVID, our four little garden beds did well again over the summer. And by year-end we learned that our application to Agri-Food Canada had been approved. We will receive just under $6,000 to have six more raised beds ready for planting next spring. There will be no end to the healthy food we’ll be able to produce!

The Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill Association provided us with help to keep our van on the road when insurance premiums came due. Just after COVID hit, we put in a request to Enel Green Power for COVID face masks. We were thankful to receive several boxes of masks to help get us safely navigate our way through the pandemic.

Through the Shell Legacy Fund we received almost $5,000 to help with renovations inside the Drop-In. We can now have a much-needed, new exterior door put into the Teen Room. The old and worn computer counter in the front program area will torn out and replaced. And new tile behind the counter can’t help but give the kitchen a more finished look.

Our recently announced partnership with Mealshare and A&W promises exciting things for the upcoming months. One dollar from each MealShare branded item purchased from A&W’s menu will mean a dollar more to help kids receive simple, healthy meals. Although our budget has always allowed for food for our youth members, that food hasn’t always been as healthy as we would have liked.

Due to shut-downs and partial closures, there was not the usual high need for program staffing at the Drop-In over a number of months last year. I had a couple of fellows, both GGY youth members/volunteers from the past, come to help with painting and yard work outside - and to help get me started on sanding and oiling on the inside. Looking on the positive side, less time spent on youth programing meant more time to catch up on some long-neglected tasks.

Throughout 2020, Helena Bruder worked as our part-time casual, assistant program worker. She came in to help with Gym Nights, Jr. Staff Meetings and special events and outings. Helena is getting set to attend college this fall to study child and youth care. It was Irvin Provost who returned, for yet another summer, to fill the role of Summer Student. He is looking forward to taking advantage of his scholarship to Stanford University this fall after COVID interfered with his plans last year.

After a couple of years in Fort McMurry, Liane Levecque has taken steps towards moving back to Pincher and was able to give us a little of her time in recent months. Her experience in working with kids and her “tech” skills make her a valuable asset here.

In looking back over the past year, I feel very appreciative of the interest, support and encouragement received from others in the community as we did our best to “negotiate” through challenging times. I would certainly like to say a very special “Thank you” to my Board of Directors for the time and commitment that each one of you has provided. During 2020, it seemed more important than ever to know I had the support of my Board.

We are now well into the new year. COVID is still with us but there’s a feeling of better times just ahead. Stay tuned to hear more as the months fly by.

Lynne Teneycke, BSW

Executive Director

Group Group Youth Society

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