New project at Plum Point

Luke Arbuckle
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Youth centre granted $25,000 for project proposal

The key players in the two projects took a moment to pose for a photo. L-R, Nancy Baines-Toope (project co-ordinator), Minister Peter Van Loan and Gloria Toope (executive member of the St. Barbe Development Association).

In an official announcement, the St. Barbe Development Association in Plum Point and their youth centre will receive $25,000 from the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) for the proposal of their project.

The announcement was made on July 4 by Honourable Minister of Sport Peter Van Loan who was touring the Northern Peninsula with his family recently, and attending Government functions and announcements.

The project is called Connecting the Social and Educational Gap, the submission to the NHSP program outlined a project that encourages seniors and youth to exchange knowledge and skills, matching the importance of traditional skills of the seniors with the technological skills and modern knowledge of the youth.

The youth centre’s co-coordinator, Nancy Baines-Toope said the project is about bringing the youth and seniors of the community together.

“Sometimes youth take for granted the skills and knowledge our seniors have, likewise, sometimes our seniors take for granted the skills and knowledge our youth have.

“The project is designed to help youth and seniors form new memories, new relationships, and develop new respect for each other by finding their common ground while encouraging them to share lessons with one another,” said Baines-Toope.

She’s excited about the funding announcement and to be able to move forward with the project.

“We hope both the seniors and youth will take advantage of each other’s skills and the youth will learn more about their history and traditional skills while the seniors will learn more about things like computers, the internet and social networking such as Facebook from the youth,” she said.

“A lot of our seniors have families gone away - this is one way for them to connect, to see pictures of their grandchildren.”

Recently, the Centre was informed that Conservative MP Peter Van Loan of the York-Simcoe riding in Ontario would be making an appearance to make the official funding announcement on behalf of the Canadian Government.

“It was very exciting when they called and told us the Minister was coming,” said Baines-Toope.

Mr. Van Loan said he was delighted that the government was able to assist in allowing the program to happen for the benefit, not just of the seniors in the community, but of the young people as well, and he was excited to be able to make the announcement in person.

“We have this one particularly innovative program which combines seniors and youth, we thought it would be a great opportunity to announce it here,” said Van Loan.

“The name of the program says it all, let’s pass on that wisdom, let’s make those connections,” he said.

A family man himself, he understands the importance of mutual respect between the generations and believes this project embodies that importance.

“Seniors will be engaged through mentoring, to exchange knowledge, skills in things like crafts, cooking, storytelling and various other activities from the traditions of this part of the country with the next generations,” said Van Loan.

Van Loan admitted he thought getting the interest of the youth would be the tricky part, though due to the number of youth in attendance at the announcement, he’ll now rest assured.

“Quite clearly, the youth are very keen about it,” said Van Loan. “It’s very impressive.”

The St. Barbe Development Association and the youth centre will be kicking off their project in the very near future.

Organizations: Barbe Development Association, Canadian Government

Geographic location: Plum Point, New Horizons, Northern Peninsula Ontario

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