Legs being put under SN Youth Centre idea

OHSWEKEN – A few of Six Nations youth and young adults are proposing a new Youth Council for Six Nations young people this summer.

The project is headed up by Crystal St. Jean, Suicide Prevention Coordinator at Six Nations Mental Health Centre, under the oversight of District #6 Councillor Mark Hill.

“We’ve been working on this for the last few months,” says St. Jean.

She says that the idea sprang from a youth engagement forum at Six Nations Polytechnic in January.

“Some of the youth at that meeting were interested in having a youth council here, so we wanted to start getting the ball rolling on that,” she says.

Chelsey Johnson has also been involved with the organization of the new group and adds that the message coming out of the January forum was that they wanted a youth council, so that is what we are doing.

The meeting at the Six Nations Community Hall on Friday evening was set up to get direct input from Six Nations young people on what they would like to see the group accomplish.

According to an Elected Band Council report, “Previously, Six Nations Parks and Recreation put together a survey to gather input. That information was put together to best reflect what types of rooms/programs were suitable for this centre.”

The building will feature a gymnasium plus a meeting area for elders. Two community rooms can be used either as a weight room or a community meeting room separated by a mechanical partition. Trophy cases and artwork will be showcased in the walkway connecting the Arena to the Community Hall.

Councillor Mark Hill, explained to the small gathering the plans that have been made for a Youth and Elders Centre. Councillors Bob Johnson and Melba Thomas and others were also present with encouragement and support.

Councillor Hill said that he and council would like to see the Youth Council make the planned Centre their home as well.

Drawings of a proposed Youth and Elders Centre were examined by a gathering of young people at the Community Centre over the weekend. The building, once completed, would span the space between the existing Gaylord Powless Arena and the Community Centre.

“It is a matter of getting youth involved in the process of all of that,” said Councillor Hill.

As the youngest sitting councillor in Six Nations history, Hill isn’t much older than a lot of the people he is speaking with. More focused meetings will take place throughout the summer to zero in on some of the youth recommendations to figure out best ways of moving the project from drawings to reality.

The Youth and Elders Centre has an estimated cost to come in at approximately $3.8 million with an estimated construction timeline of August 2014 to September 2015.



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