History of the YEC
The Consolidated Credit Union Youth Engagement Centre began with an idea from Summerside Rotarian, Paul Power, of building a safe, supportive place for youth in our community to attend structured preventative programming. There were no other offerings or facilities in Summerside to accommodate programs, and the Club did not have the space to facilitate more youth. The Boys and Girls Club of Summerside was bursting at the seams, but in our Strategic Plan, we had a goal of creating a Youth Engagement Centre. Paul challenged us to submit a proposal to the Rotary Club of Summerside to start a new project for youth in our community.
Around the same time, Killam Properties Director and APM CEO, Tim Banks, allocated a $50,000 to our organization. Tim and Killam Properties had a vision that the funds be used to help youth, which worked perfectly with our goal and that of the Rotary Club.
It was no secret that there was a great need for this facility, but, building the YEC would require significant fundraising and a strong backing from community stakeholders.
Two other significant programs helped in the construction of the Youth Engagement Centre idea. A big influence was George Chuvalo and his “Fight Against Drugs”. We had been partnering with George for 10+ years, touring Island schools tip to tip, giving presentations about the negative effects of drugs, but we needed something to follow up the impactful message George brings. A place for youth who are dealing with substance abuse and drug related issues to go to be safe, supported, and to make positive changes in their life.
The second program that influenced the Youth Engagement Centre was the Strengthening Families Program. The Federal Government of Canada Department of Public Safety granted our organization 1.2 million in funding to implement the Strengthening Families Program for 4 years. Visit the SFP page under “programs” to learn more about this amazing initiative.
Pictured below is the original structure that the YEC was built onto. From left to right, Tim Banks (ACOA/Killam Properties), Paul Power (Rotary Club of Summerside), Mayor Bill Martin, Rachel Barry (Youth of the Year 2015), and BGCS Executive Director, Adam Binkley. The Rotary Club of Summerside and ACOA were the first to jump on board the YEC Capital Campaign.
For more information on the amazing organizations who helped fund this project, check out our Sponsors page, under “Who We Are”.