Sylvan Lake youth services program co-ordinator Krista Carlson stands amid the plenty of space and natural light afforded by the Sylvan Lake Youth Centre — recently re-named the Flipside.

Sylvan Lake youth services program co-ordinator Krista Carlson stands amid the plenty of space and natural light afforded by the Sylvan Lake Youth Centre — recently re-named the Flipside.

Big changes at newly re-named youth drop-in centre

It’s an exciting time at the Sylvan Lake Youth Drop-In Centre, which recently underwent major changes to its programs and facilities.

It’s an exciting time at the Sylvan Lake Youth Drop-In Centre, which recently underwent major changes to its programs and facilities.

A name change was included in the overhaul, and the centre is now known as the Flipside — a name aptly chosen by the youths who use it.

“We met with a bunch of kids and we just started going through names, and the Flipside came up,” said Sylvan Lake youth services program co-ordinator Krista Carlson. “We voted, and that was the name we chose. It’s easy to remember, and it looks good.”

The centre’s original name — This Side Up — reflected the centre’s upstairs facility at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre. That area has since been totally revamped with new paint, furniture, storage and kitchen counter tops, and even has a new entertainment centre.

It’s all been done to complement the centre’s new lineup of programs, which are geared toward an older group of youths than previously in a bid to return to the centre’s original purpose, Carlson explained.

“We found that what was happening was there was a lot of focus on programs for the younger kids, and we have a lot of that already happening in the community,” she said. “We kind of went back to the original concept for the youth centre in that it would be a safe place for teens to come and gain some skills, be surrounded by positive adult role models and have opportunities for employment.”

After-school programs are still being offered for children in Grades 3 to 5, with new focuses in teaching leadership skills and healthy relationships among peers and families. Homework help and mentoring programs are also offered.

Evening programs for youths in middle school and high school focus on healthy relationships and maintaining positive self-esteem and an active lifestyle.

There’s also a Youth Advisory Council which meets weekly. That group, Carlson said, will have increased interaction this year with Sylvan Lake Town Council.

“They will have a lot more connection just reporting back to Town Council and making sure that the community is well aware of what’s happening for youth in the community.”

The Youth Advisory Council will also help plan Friday evening events that could include movie nights and dodgeball tournaments.

The public was given a chance to explore the newly-renovated drop-in centre during an open house on Tuesday.

Program information is available on the Town’s website at www.sylvanlake.ca.