Welcome to the first Sedro-Woolley Rec Center newsletter! Our hope is to push out quarterly updates about the Rec Center to keep the community up to speed on what’s taking place.
An Overview of the Rec Center
The Sedro-Woolley Rec Center is a unique, multi-faceted program currently funded by Washington’s Office of Homeless Youth Street Outreach Services Grant. The purpose of the grant is to support homeless youth or youth at risk of becoming homeless, and while homeless youth and youth at risk of becoming homeless do visit the Rec Center, it primarily serves as a drop-in center for non-homeless local youth to hang out at, seek out services they need, and find support.
The space is open to 12–17-year-olds, but most who visit are between ages 13-16. The majority of drop-ins are from Sedro-Woolley, but teens from Mount Vernon, Burlington, and upriver also regularly access the space. There are generally three to four YMCA staff members on site each day supervising the space, cooking food, keeping snacks stocked and building rapport with the youth.
“We are trying to create a space where youth can simply exist, be themselves, and ultimately feel safety to explore who they are and discover the ways they contribute to their community, and be celebrated for all of it” shares Roger Schuettke, Outreach Manager at the Skagit Y.
Among the resources that the Rec Center provides to youth ages 12-17 are free meals/snacks, a take-what-you-need food/clothing pantry, various events with social service organizations in the community (ex. Underground Writing, Planned Parenthood, Skagit DVSAS), and the promise of a supportive environment. During the school year, staff provide academic support for youth working on homework. In addition to programming in the space, there are tabletop games, foosball, pool, table-tennis, air hockey, an Xbox, Wii, a gaga ball pit, a bunch of art supplies, a piano, guitarsand books/games.
2023 So Far
The first 8 months of 2023 have been busy! The Rec Center reopened for winter break in December of 2022 and was in full swing come January 2023. Between January and August 2023, the Rec Center saw:
- 4109 contacts (individual times that youth have been to the space)
- 310 unduplicated youth have used the space
- 1,640 individual meals
- 9 youth enrolled in SOS (Street Outreach Services)
The end of the school year saw the space at its busiest, with an average of 50+ youth visiting the Rec Center each day. Nearly 70 youth came to the end of the school year party. During the summer months, numbers have declined slightly, but that’s allowed staff to make improvements to systems at the center.
Throughout the year, youth have been involved in building out the space and developing programming that they’d like to participate in. Nerf wars, Dungeons & Dragons sessions, board game nights, and movie nights are all common occurrences.
As autumn arrives and school resumes, the Rec Center is back to being open 2:30 – 6:30pm Monday-Friday.
If you’d like to support the Rec Center, there are several ways to give back:
- Food! We are looking for food partnerships, including finding a regular commercial kitchen to cook out of andideally host cooking classes for youth! Cooking is by far the number one most desired activity by youth.
- Purchase something on our Amazon Wishlist
- Give to the Skagit Y Impact Fund (select “Outreach” as the designation)
- Drop off non-perishable food items, gently used teen clothing, hygiene supplies, school supplies, or art supplies!
Additionally, we’re always on the lookout for additional community partners to provide programming for teens at the Rec Center. If you have interest in putting on an event, activity, or course for youth at the Rec Center, please contact Roger at [email protected].