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Youth centre plans launched at ROC’n Revue talent showcase

Hiliary Fennell closes out the show with a salute to the cast, crew and supporters.

Hiliary Fennell closes out the show with a salute to the cast, crew and supporters.

Plans for a new youth centre were unveiled during the Recreation Outreach Centre’s third annual showcase of talented County youth.

The Roc ‘n Revue at The Regent Theatre Thursday, featured youth performing with community coaches including: Miss Emily, The Reasonettes, Jamie Stever, Janet Kellough, Peter Rea, Kim Inch, Sarah Williams, Chris Bonham-Carter, Brenda Cunningham, Rick Zimmerman, Sharalee Foster and John McFarlane.

“This opportunity allows local youth to broaden their knowledge of theatre performance and backstage production while developing skills and confidence to share their talents with their community,” said Hilary Fennell, ROC Program Director. “New to the format of the show this year was pairing these incredible PEC youth with local professional musicians. This unique mentoring opportunity has been inspiring to witness and I believe the audience was entertained!”

Participants worked with their adult mentors in multiple rehearsals over the past month. The show comprised live music, singing, dancing, poetry, storytelling and professional musicians.

The fundraising event was in support of a new Prince Edward County Youth Centre.

Designed to provide a safe, supervised space for youth ages 12-18 years, it is to operate five days a week, hosting programs, drop-in hours and events free of charge to participants.

“The centre will deliver positive change by providing opportunities for youth to become connected with their community and reduce the social isolation of rural youth,” said Fennell. “The Youth Centre will build upon the ROC’s 16-year history of proven youth programming.”

The day before, Neil Ellis, Bay of Quinte MP, along with PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff and other County councillors and staff, were introduced to the space at 299 Main St., Picton and given an outline of the plans and vision for the centre by ROC board members and staff.

“The PEC Youth Centre will be a place for youth to experience achievement, leadership, friendship, recognition and connection to their peers and community,” said Lesley Lavender, Communications Director for the ROC. “The Youth Centre will support youth by offering after school quality programming, in an accessible location. Youth programming will engage participants in meaningful recreation and life skills activities that prepare them to meet the challenges of adolescence, and present them with unique opportunities for fun.”

ROC successfully operated a Youth Centre for 13 years in Macaulay Village before moving programs directly into the schools and partnering with Queen Elizabeth to offer the clubROC program two evenings per week throughout the school year.

“The past three years have been spent developing and improving our programs, and most importantly, our relationships with the County youth, listening to what they want and need to improve their lives in the County. Re-opening a Youth Centre is just the right thing to do,” said Darlene Thompson, ROC Executive Director. “Prince Edward County is a rural community characterized by geographic isolation, limited public transportation, relatively lower income levels and according to a community survey, 43 per cent of youth feel left out of the community and 36 per cent of youth feel they had little support from adults. We aim to improve these reports. The Fusion Youth Centre in the town of Ingersoll reports that investing in a youth centre delivers positive change for rural communities. They have experienced a decrease in teen pregnancy rates, less mischief reported, and 90 per cent reduction in youth related crime.”

Coach Kim Inch with Codie and Cori Goodman singing "Soul Sister"

Coach Kim Inch with Codie and Cori Goodman singing “Soul Sister”

Sharalee Foster with the PECI Senior Instramental Class

Sharalee Foster with the PECI Senior Instramental Class

Miss Emily and Ella Jones performing "Jealous"

Miss Emily and Ella Jones performing “Jealous”

The Reasonettes with the new girl group H.I.V.E.

The Reasonettes with the new girl group H.I.V.E.

Hilary Fennell and Abby young singing and performing a medley of the Cup Song and Adele's "Rollin' in the Deep".

Hilary Fennell and Abby young singing and performing a medley of the Cup Song and Adele’s “Rollin’ in the Deep”.

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