YOUTH CLUB Tom Jacques, president of the SADI Unity Youth Club, said financial difficulties have led to the closure of the youth facility. The club will close its doors on Friday, Sept. 27. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Summerland youth organization closing

SADI Unity Youth Club had served community for past two decades

After two decades, a youth centre in Summerland will be closing its doors on Friday.

The Summerland Asset Development Initiative’s Unity Youth Club, on Prairie Valley Road, had its origins in the late 1990s as an effort to benefit youths in the community.

Over the years, hundreds if not thousands of students from Grade 6 to Grade 12 had used the centre or participated in events organized by the youth club. The club had been open Monday to Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. Other events had also been offered. For high school students, it was also open from 1 to 1:40 p.m. during the school’s lunch break.

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Tom Jacques, president of the youth organization, said financial problems led to the decision to close the facility.

“The donations had fallen off,” he said. “We hadn’t had the money.”

The community had supported the youth centre. Each year, Zias Stonehouse Restaurant hosted a springtime fundraiser, which included a silent auction and door prizes. The Rotary Club of Summerland and other community organizations also supported the youth club over the years.

While the municipality of Summerland had provided the building and while the wages of administrative coordinator Alyson Lindsay had been covered, the facility had other bills and expenses, including utilities and vehicle costs.

Jacques said the purpose of the facility was to help youths in Summerland develop the skills and assets they needed.

However, in recent years, the number of youths participating at the youth club had been declining.

In past years, new youths would attend the facility as older students graduated, but the number of new students in recent years was significantly lower than the number of graduates.

Jacques said the decision to close the facility was a difficult one for the board members.

“Nobody really wants to have the doors shut,” he said.

He added that he hopes another organization will work to fill the vacancy left by the youth centre’s closure in the future.

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