What captures the imagination of your son or daughter? A variety of new and returning Esquimalt Parks & Recreation programs allows them to explore their creativity and community. Esquimalt Recreation offers a host of programs for youth every day of the week!
Programmer Gillian Rowan oversees three new youth creative arts programs, possible thanks to seed money from United Way Greater Victoria.
“The idea is to keep things going in a sustainable fashion. There’s also limited drop-in spaces so if there’s a particular artist they like or topic they want to try, they can come check it out,” Rowan says.
Subsidies are also available. “We don’t want economic factors to be a barrier to participation,” she notes.
“Our participants enjoy learning from great artists and forming great relationships. Some even take what they learn and share it at our community events.”
Beyond art, other opportunities include free youth drop-ins and a session designed to give youth the confidence to get out and explore.
- Art Lab – Draw, paint, make and create in this encouraging, creative space. Guest artists share their knowledge and mentor young artists in everything from watercolours and urban-style art boards to graphic sketchbooks and beach scenes and salt collages.
- Stitch Lab – Design, stitch, make and create during StitchLab sewing studio! No experience needed and all supplies are provided, along with expert advice and mentorship from The Makehouse. Discover Fashion Upcycling – Designing & Sewing, Embellish This – Hand & Machine Sewing and more!
- The Secret Ingredient – Take your creativity to the kitchen! With the same peer-to-peer exchange and mentorship, “The Secret Ingredient is a way for youth to express themselves as they explore different cooking themes,” Rowan says.
- Trekin’ – Students aged 11 to 15 choose a destination and plan the trip, under the guidance of program leaders. Before heading to Victoria’s Board Game Café, for example, they planned bus routes, plotted the times, made a reservation and more, says youth programmer Regan Pemberton.
- Drop-in fun – At two after-school drop-ins – Wednesdays at Rockheights middle school and Thursdays at the rec centre – middle-schoolers have fun with friends, play video games … whatever they want to do, under the guidance of leaders. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights bring middle and high school students for drop-ins full of fun, activities and even pizza! “We do lots of different things,” Pemberton says. There is no cost to participate in these after-school and evening programs.
- Girls only – Monday brings a new drop-in just for girls from Grade 5 through middle school. “It’s driven by what the girls want to do – suggestions include a yoga night, spa night, tie-dying and games,” Pemberton says. Once the girls’ night is up and running, she hopes to add a boys’ night. “We have many co-ed programs they really enjoy, but it’s nice to be able to provide a space just for girls or boys.”
- Fitness – Youth Intro to Wellness Centre program provides an orientation and support to guide those 11 years and older to safely use the weight room. Upon successful completion, youth are able to visit the Wellness Centre during supervised Wellness Centre hours or anytime under direct supervision from a parent or guardian. Parents are welcome to participate in the first session of the orientation as well. Registration is $25/youth and includes a 5-Punch Pass.
- Swimming – Drop in to the pool during any of the Everyone Welcome Swims, offered daily.
An annual pass for youth is just $14.58/month to provide unlimited access to the pool and weight room!
And more youth suggestions are always welcome. “Anytime we can take one of their ideas and run with it and or empower them to run with it, we will – it just builds confidence.”
To learn more, visit esquimalt.ca/youth.