The centre is part of an international non-denominational organization called Youth for Christ (YFC), but the building hasn’t seen much use recently.
“We try to reach youth. There was a school program going on which we hope will start again in January. It’s to provide a place for the kids and give an opportunity to us … to teach them a little bit about Christ and hopefully help them succeed in life,” said Westlock board chair Morgan Davies about the centre’s purpose.
The school program took place at R.F. Staples School at lunch on Tuesdays for senior high students, and Wednesdays for junior high, and was attended by 20-25 kids.
Jake Schellenberg, director of chapter development with YFC Canada, described it as a gym activity program.
The building used to be open for after school drop-in Tuesday to Friday, where the previous director would provide meals, and kids would play video games or pool. Schellenberg added it was a casual program, but there was faith-based programming at some point in the past.
“The program had been slowing down quite a bit in the last six months. … The centre has been closed pretty much since the end of June,” he said.
Davies said they are looking for a director with his/her own vision, who would be able to set and develop programs at the centre, keeping in mind national opportunities via YFC and how they work to target the specific needs of this community.
For him, CONEX and local churches have been some of the sources of information about what Westlock needs from the centre.
“We still have volunteers in place that are ready and willing once we’re ready, but it’s a matter of having a director as well,” added Davies.
Schellenberg noted that a prospective director should have a good relationship with all the agencies in the community, including local churches.
“Westlock is a great location because the organization has good standing in the community. Their facility is paid off, they have good support in the community,” he said, although it’s one of the smallest chapters across Canada with only one employee.