Let’s Build Boats (and connections)!

Summer is almost here, and at MacPhee Centre, this means summer camp planning. Lately, we are thinking outside the box—literally, outside 50 Queen Street—when it comes to summer camps.

Last year, in addition to our usual world class art camps, we launched our first ever annual skilled trades camp in partnership with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (Government of Nova Scotia) and LSI. Dubbed “Tech Arts,” this two-week program gave a youth a chance to learn culinary skills, carpentry and welding at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Akerly Campus and exposure to several other trades at the Trades Exhibition Centre.

This year, we are excited to add another new camp in partnership with the Halifax Boat School at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Youth will learn to build a boat in four days and, at the end of it all, launch it into the ocean.

Why should any of this matter? If you’ve been listening to the news lately, you’ve probably wondered about what’s happening to the youth in HRM.

Where and when I grew up, when a young person misbehaved, people asked, “Who raised you?” I like to think that here and now, more than ever, we are all contributing to the upbringing of the young people in our communities. When we interact with them physically, virtually, personally, professionally, or are in positions where we make decisions that affect them (which, if you think carefully, it’s not only people in positions of power), we influence the trajectory of their lives.

The youth need many things, one of which is safe, positive, and empowering spaces. Spaces that allow them to explore the intersection of their passion and purpose. They need healthy ways to express themselves. They need community. When we don’t intentionally provide them with avenues to build these things, we fail them.

I don’t want to sound like we have figured it out at the MacPhee Centre. Still, I’d like to say that during the last little while, the work that organizations like ours are doing and being able to see the youth participate and enjoy this work has been a very welcome reminder that not all is lost.

Sharon Ishimwe,
Executive Director

PS: If you’re not committed to any charity for this year’s Bluenose marathon, register to run and raise money for the MacPhee Centre. We have people running the 10K and 5K, and another community partner will be walking the 5 K. You can join the runners or walk with us quietly or in conversation about how we can do better. Special thanks to one of our committed funders, McInnes Cooper, who has formed a corporate team on behalf of the Centre.

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