When I was 15, I met Janice Luttrell and Pat MacIntosh. They were two mothers of teenagers that aspired to build a youth centre for the teenagers of Newmarket. Gilly and I joined their committee, and in the process we changed our lives and our town forever.
It took 5 years of fundraising, publicising, surveying, and lobbying for the committee to get the town council to support our idea. In December 1997 the town purchased an old abandoned movie theatre on Main Street for us to renovate and make it our own. A few months later, the Newmarket Youth and Recreation Centre opened its doors.
The centre's popularity grew very quickly with its programs of sports, games, computer and cooking lessons, photography, tutoring, clubs, movie nights, karaoke, dances, concerts, and supportive adults available to listen to the joy and heartbreak of teenage life.
In 2003, the Town of Newmarket purchased another abandoned movie theatre, this time the old Film Factory 6 on Charles Street, to make into a larger youth centre. The NYRC now includes a gym, lounge, kitchen, computer lab, weight room, games room, and indoor skateboard park. Membership has continued to grow, and the only worry now is that the membership may outgrow this space in only a few years!
You can visit the official web site of the Newmarket Youth and Recreation Centre at here. Below is a poem written soon after the original youth centre was opened.
The Youth Centre's cool
I get to play pool
And watch Grease all day long.
We can sit around and braid,
Watch the Santa Claus Parade,
Or play in a game of ping pong.
They have a snack bar,
You don't need a car,
Just the bus will suffice to arrive.
There's parties galore
From ceiling to floor
And on bands' nights, the music is live.
Don't go to the mall,
Come paint the art wall.
There's tournaments upstairs and down.
Janice and Pat
Are really all that
And each likes to act like a clown!
The volunteers care,
That's why they are there
Whether they're young or they're old,
We all built this place
With smiles on our face,
Now watch as the memories unfold.