Youth centre stages fantasy fundraiser 

Up to 25 teens a day can’t be wrong.

The Whistler Youth Centre is kicking butt bringing young adults ideas, inspiration and alternatives to those pesky peer group pressure problems we all had to go through. But keeping the teens away from trouble they’re not ready for all costs money, so it’s time for a fundraiser.

The 18-month-old youth centre, located down stairs in Millennium Place, is throwing its first adults-only shindig on Saturday, March 1 with DJs, drinks, and decorations galore. The theme for the big event is "Fantasy" inspired by the mantra of the youth centre that anything is possible.

Costumes are mandatory but considering fantasy can incorporate anything you would like to do but don’t, there’s loads of room for improvisation and imagination.

Two DJs will be spinning house and funky break beats all night — Stephen Thomas and Luv Lee. The room will be filled with massage therapists, body painters, tarot card and palm readers, all ready to fire up your passions and plans for the future.

Money raised from the event will go to supplies for the centre. Recreation programmer, Caroline Straud said the teen’s wish list was a creative one.

"They need art supplies and computer stuff but their number one request would be an editing system for making their own movies. A lot of these kids are interested in getting out and about with the digital camera and taking their hobby to the next level. Cable 6 said they’d help them learn the basics so I hope we can raise enough money to do it."

The youth centre is open to 13-18-year-olds but it’s mainly under 16s that turn up.

"The older teens don’t really want to hang with the younger set," said program leader Dave Smith. "But we’re looking at doing different things with the older ones, perhaps with more off-site activities."

While there’s a core group of regulars that turn up every week, Smith said there was a real cross section of kids on any given day.

"We get all types, from locals to tourists alike. Just like in school, some may be troubled and some are super confident. Either way, we just give them an opportunity to form friendships, hang out and try new things they otherwise might not in their school environment."

Whistler-Blackcomb’s ride tribe also use the centre, bringing another 40 or 50 teens in a week.

"It’s totally rewarding for us just to be able to hang out with these kids and give them some like-minded people to bounce ideas off," said Stroud. "It’s kind of like a mentoring program, in fact some of the kids who’ve been here a while and benefited tremendously are now volunteers for the younger kids. There’s so much to do in Whistler, it’s just having the motivation and the confidence to do it, so we try and guide them to fulfil their dreams."

Get your fantasy thinking caps on, and get on down to the MY Place Youth Centre Saturday, March 1 to support a great cause. Tickets are $20 with the party, starting at 10 p.m. Phone the Youth Centre on 604-935-8187 for more information.

The Centre is open to teenagers under 19. There’s a $2 drop-in fee for locals, or $5 for visitors. Monthly memberships are $10. Opening times in the main room vary from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. with unique workshops available including:

• Tutoring French, science, math etc.

• Photography clinic starting March 19 for 10 weeks with dark room instruction ($60)

• Hip Hop Classes

• Friday night Dinner & a Movie ($3), starts @ 7:30pm

• Saturday Games night

• There’s an art room with supplies, PS2 & N64 games, computers and internet, pool table, ping pong table and turn tables with lessons available. The leaders also plan various out trips, camping, skiing and shopping throughout the year.

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