The Base@Belmont held their fifth annual end of year Christmas party on Thursday afternoon, which also signifies the beginning of their extended holiday opening hours.
Aligning with the last day of term, 55 buzzing young people flocked to the centre after school to join in all the fun and games until it finished at 8pm.
In the midst of the party, Youth Services Manager David Reid said: “So far we’ve had some team challenges outside, they’ve dressed each other up as Christmas trees, we’ve done pass the parcel, minute to win it, and then we’ve had a sit down feed of burgers, hot dogs, chicken, salad, crackers and juice.”
Little did David know the fun was just beginning, with a surprise visit from the jolly old man coming moments later! Each of the young people received a $15 voucher from Santa.
“It’s just good for young people to have a safe place over the holidays where they can come and just chill out and relax if they want to.”
To accommodate the young people over the holidays The Base@Belmont adjusts their opening hours and offer something Monday though to Saturday (except public holidays.) Young people can choose from numerous activities such as comedy workshops, urban art, movie days, excursions and more. All at no cost to the participant.
This is just one of the wonderful offerings that makes the centre what it is, according to General Manager of Metro Brooke Draper. “I think for me this is a service that replicates the YMCA WA’s version of youth engagement probably in its truest form.”
“The way the staff interact with the young people is amazing – I was just here listening to a parent who came in to thank the staff about the fact she’s comfortable, and that her child is here rather than on the streets,” Brooke said.
To assist with the planning of events like the Christmas party and to encourage leadership development, the service has a youth committee which consists of a group of eight young people. “I’ve been part of the committee since last year and I really enjoy it - my favourite part about it is interacting with new people, meeting new people and making new friends,” 13-year-old Grace said.
However the offering of such a safe space for young people from all backgrounds, and such good leadership opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Y’s presence in the community, Brooke says. “I think it’s not only the relationship the staff have with the young people, it’s the relationship we have with external stakeholders, and it’s also the relationship we have with the City of Belmont.”
“Without the council’s ongoing commitment and partnership we wouldn’t have the centre the way that it runs.”
Brooke added: “The council’s been a true partner in supporting the youth engagement strategies that we do and I think that’s a huge reason as to why this place is so successful in what we do.”
City of Belmont's partnership with YMCA WA aims to provide young people with access to highly trained and qualified youth workers, innovative programs and interesting activities in a supportive, safe and youth friendly space.