Mount Forest”™s Door youth program set to roll with mobile meeting centre

The Door program in Mount Forest should be ready to roll this June.

Cindy Aitken, Geoffrey Neuman and Kay Garrard, members of the Mount Forest Door Youth Centre steering committee were at Wellington North council last month asking for partial use of the  parking lot of Cork Street Athletic Park and the parking lot of Victory Community Church.

Neuman explained the reason is to help establish a youth drop in centre in Mount Forest.

“We are affiliated with the Highlands Youth for Christ from Orangeville which operates 12 Youth for Christ centres in outlying areas including Arthur, Grand Valley, Shelburne and Erin.”

Neuman said the Shelburne location is providing the use of a truck, converted to provide a hangout area for youth.

“We are planning to use this truck to start the Christ for Youth program here.”

He stressed the truck is safe and in good working order and when not in use would be stored in a safe, private location.

“When kids come to the truck we are planning to offer a safe place to hang out with three trained adult supervisors.”

The truck has a video projection screen to watch movies or play games, a seating area for conversation and tables to play games.

“We are hoping and planning to use the municipal parking lot at Cork Park near the tuck shop and washrooms and the parking area at Victory Community Church on alternating Friday nights starting June 5 until weather permits from 7pm to 10pm.”

Neuman stressed “we are not looking for a financial handout, but we are asking the township to partner with us to be able to use the municipal parking lots, the washrooms and electricity to run our electronics during our program times.”

At the time of the meeting, Aitken added she had spoken with all members of the local churches with the exception of the Catholic church.

“They all know where we are going with this. We are still looking for volunteers, partners and supporters.”

She added “This is a great opportunity for us to do something for the youth.”

Aitken pointed out there is a Door program in Arthur, “so you know how well it has been working. We’ll be following the same protocols and training. The whole idea is just to love kids and give them somewhere safe to hangout.”

Mayor Andy Lennox clarified that the group is looking at alternate Fridays for the locations, access to washrooms and a hydro connection.

Aitken added that while the truck has a solar panel, committee members were not certain how long the power would last with the electronics running.

Councillor Sherry Burke considered this a great opportunity for the youth in Mount Forest.