A group of volunteers, including youth who are members of the IMPACT group, work to add colour to the beginnings of Sylvan Lake’s new pocket park between Eclectica Fashions and Fresh Flowers and More. (File Photo)

Sylvan Lake youth creating a movement of positivity

IMPACT Group is those 12-18 and are taking a leadership role, making changes in their community

Sylvan Lake has a group of young people who are working to create a positive and bright atmosphere in town.

The IMPACT Group is made up of youth in the community between the ages of 12 and 18, and is a coalition of youth who want to take on a leadership role in the community.

The group has been working together since late last year on initiatives to increase positivity in the community.

Initiatives the group has spearheaded this year include the flowers painted in the windows of local businesses, which the group calls Paint the Town, and the Pride Week proclamation in August.

The group’s most recent initiatives include working to create the pocket park downtown, a clean up program and a positivity rock garden.

“I am always amazed by the creativity that comes out of kids. We will throw out an idea and they will just run with it,” said Krista Carlson, FCSS Youth Services supervisor.

For the rock garden, which can currently be found at the Sylvan Lake sign on the pier in Sylvan Lake Park, the group partnered with residents at Bethany Sylvan Lake.

Residents from Bethany painted the rocks with bright colours and positive messages. They were then placed at the Sylvan Lake sign.

Others in the community are welcome to add their own painted rocks to the garden as well.

“I mean, who doesn’t love finding a nice message on a rock?” Carlson said, laughing.

The group began working on this project in June, because they want to keep positivity alive in Sylvan Lake, and wanted a project that could be done while social distancing.

The hope is to bring the garden back in the spring, but in a different location.

“They hope to move it around town and share the positivity,” said Carlson.

The group has started a second movement to go alongside the Paint the Town movement. This one is more environmentally focused.

In the summer the group worked together on clean up the beach and downtown area.

“One of our members is very environmentally focused and wanted to do something to help the environment,” Carlson said.

Moving forward, IMPACT plans to continue with the two movements it has started, and hopes to welcome more members.

Currently there are 12 members, but more members and new ideas are always welcomed.

The group members also plan to volunteer throughout the town. They have previously volunteered their time to help create the pocket park on Centennial Street.

“They are a great bunch of people, and if people are looking for volunteers they are willing and eager,” Carlson said.

The group received funding from an AHS grant to do their projects and in the spring they hope to apply for that same grant again.

“I can really see it get bigger and bigger,” said Carlson.

Youth ages 12-18 interested in joining the IMPACT Group can contact Tatyana Rideout at Flipside Youth Centre, trideout@sylvanlake.ca.

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