Whistler2020 on the Ground 

Whistler youth taking Initiative

By Jackie McSkimming, Whistler Community Services Society

Well, the world is in Whistler, the high school is closed and parents around the valley get answers to the nagging question: "What are the kids going to do?"

The village is a bustle, Olympic events are going off well and a whole bunch of dedicated local young adults and youth programmers are working hard to make the 2010 Games an active, creative time for Whistler: The Next Generation. Despite countless bands playing in Village Square, amazing events being produced by Whistler Live! and, oh yeah, sports, youth are still looking for stuff to do. Many teens have accepted opportunities of a lifetime to volunteer and others have increased the hours at their part-time jobs. Time and programs are on our side, please check it out.

The Whistler Youth Centre (YC) has increased their hours and locations for local and visiting youth (13-18). The YC has been temporarily moved from its permanent location to a new spot called "The Cabin" across the street from Millennium Place on Blackcomb Way. The Cabin will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Filled with video games, free computer and e-mail access and a comfy, safe place to lounge and watch Olympic events on TV, hit The Cabin for village-based fun.

Local youth have developed "The Initiative" and aim to treat Olympic visitors to unique and spontaneous performances that are lighthearted, novel and short enough to remain delightful, and most of all, unobtrusive. From a breakout song-and-dance routine, to a take-away game of Bingo (with mini Olympic paraphernalia prizes) Whistler's youth are out there having fun.

The Initiative is designed to create a sense of wonder and imagination amongst the hustle and bustle of Whistler Village during the Games and to allow the local and visiting youth to leave their own fingerprint upon such a massive global adventure. The Initiative video crews will be shooting and editing video to show on Whistler Live! screens throughout the village.

The coolest out-of-village experience is at the Myrtle Philip Community Centre seven days a week from 6 to 10 p.m. Hit the skateboard halfpipe, recreate and relax. If relaxing is not your thing, we have access to the gym and may just pump up the volume on a floor hockey or dodgeball game. Fun prizes to the best set of matching terry cloth wrist and head bands. I've already got the Rasta colors, so don't go there.

Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) has a change in services and programming during the Olympics. WCSS will not have an office location during the Games and all WCSS staff are working remotely. Youth Outreach workers can be reached by phone, Davin at 604-932-3902 or davin@mywcss.org, and Tara at 604-902-0670, or tara@mywcss.org. Youth Outreach is the contact for Emergency Financial Assistance, Counseling Assistance, KidSport, Peer Educators and the School Based Drug and Alcohol program which will also be running during this period.

The food bank has doubled the number of food bank days in case of need and will be open every Monday in February, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Emergencies can call Sara at 604-935-7717. Should the need arise WCSS also has plans in place for an emergency soup kitchen.

So, the kids are alright. See you out there. Whistler's youth have an integral role to play, and play we will.

To KNOW MORE about other actions that are moving our community toward Whistler2020, to tell us how you're contributing, or to find out how we're performing visit www.whistler2020.ca .



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