YMCA and partners bring teen drop-in to Gananoque

Submitted by the YMCA of Eastern Ontario

For the fourth year, the YMCA of Eastern Ontario, Gananoque police and fire services, and RNJ Youth Services will run the Bermout, a drop-in program for area teens that has operated over the past three summers with great success.

The Bermout began in response to the voices of local youth who expressed their need for a safe place to socialize, and was originally offered two days a week. With the numbers of teens growing, this year’s program will be run five days a week from Mondays to Fridays, from noon to 6 p.m.

Gananoque Police see the new program as a positive response to what they have been hearing from youth. Police Chief Scott Gee said, “Through numerous consultations, youth have told us that they want a safe space to gather and that is what this initiative provides. We are pleased that the Town has recognized the voices of our teens and is playing an important role in making this a reality.” 

“The Y has been focussing on supporting youth through a number of programs like Teen Night, the After-school Teen Drop-in and academic suspension programs. We are delighted to have partnered with like-minded agencies to be able to bring this program to Gananoque,” said Rob Adams, CEO, YMCA of Eastern Ontario. “Funding from the United Way Leeds and Grenville and Gananoque town council make this program possible.”

The mobile teen drop-in provides teens with access to free wi-fi, a safe space and good food – things that teens have said are very important to them.

“We are happy to be partnering on this initiative,” said Rachel Burns, executive director of RNJ Youth Services. “This is a great thing for our youth and brings them much needed services. We’re looking forward to an exciting summer.”

The United Way is providing $17,500 to this initiative and the Town of Gananoque is contributing $15,000. Gananoque police and fire services are donating use of the mobile command trailer to use as the drop-in space. The YMCA is providing $3,500 in-kind as a demonstration of its strong commitment to supporting teens with opportunities for healthy activities and positive social connections.

The Bermout begins the season on July 2, 2024 at Joel Stone Park.

Submitted by the YMCA of Eastern Ontario

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