With schools and other public spaces closed, the Stoke Youth Network, has continued engaging with youth online.
They are using part of their budget to pay for online programming and Zoom memberships, to continue engaging with youth during the pandemic.
“Through this time of social distancing, the priorities that we are seeing are focused around maintaining connections, providing additional outreach to some of our more vulnerable youth and families and providing fun and exciting ways to stay engaged,” said Leslie Hogg, Revelstoke’s youth liaison for the Stoke Youth Network, in an email.
Some of the activities include posting weekly challenges on social media with prizes from various small businesses in the community.
Nine youth have also had the opportunity to access a 14 day online yoga platform through Alchemy Studio. Each day there is a 20-30 minute video that can be streamed from home.
The network has facilitated bingo, a scavenger hunt and activities during Earth Week.
The weekly Dungeons and Dragons group, that previously met at the library, has moved online as well.
The network continues to host youth drop-in time on Tuesday afternoons via Zoom, with Hogg regularly available via phone, text and messenger during the rest of the week.
In a report presented to the city’s Youth Action Committee, the network listed future events including:
- online dance videos with Kenley Knock
- Mother’s day challenge
- baking/cook off
- Bob Ross paint night
- prom/grad activities
“For me personally, the biggest challenge has been the lack of face-to-face interactions with the youth,” said Hogg. “I value the conversations and in-person time I have with all the students at RSS and miss them dropping into my office throughout the day to say hi. So much of what the SYN offers comes from these interactions and it is also how I let youth know about what activities/resources/programs are being offered in the community. Without this daily contact, it is challenging to share information, feel connected and know what the SYN and other organizations can offer to better support local youth.”
Hogg reports to the City of Revelstoke’s Youth Advisory Committee. The focus of the network is to increase opportunities for meaningful engagement for 12-18 year olds in Revelstoke. The network works collaboratively with businesses and organizations to create opportunities and events for youth.
It was founded in 2013 through grant funding from the Columbia Basin Trust. In 2016 the trust expanded the program to all communities in the basin, creating the Basin Youth Network.