What do Persian dancing, basketball, flag colouring, cookie decorating, and card making all have in common?
These activities were a part of YMAP’s annual Kick-Off event which took place on December the 13th at the Eau Claire YMCA.
YMAP (YMCA Achievement Program) is an after school program for newcomer youth in Calgary. High school students from each quadrant as well as our new central location meet weekly throughout the city for session once a week. They come to practice English, make friends and learn about topics ranging from life in Canada to career possibilities. Volunteering and philanthropy are also focused upon to give participants more valuable experiences to grow from as well as add to their resumés. Aside from weekly sessions and volunteering, we coordinators also plan large group events to give our youth a chance to make new friends from around Calgary and try things they may not be exposed to outside of YMAP.
Kick-Off was our first large group event of the year and as a new YMAP coordinator, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Would the youth enjoy Persian dancing or would they be shy? Would only the boys be interested in playing basketball? Would there be enough healthy food to feed everybody? Many questions like these ran through my mind as we were planning. When Friday the 13th finally rolled around, I was excited and nervous to see how the event would play out.
In the end, about 50 youth from across Calgary came out to Kick-Off. Each youth came prepared and eager to try new things. They sweat it out playing Basketball and learned the steps to Persian dance. The youth also activated their artistic and philanthropic side as they made cards that will be delivered to a Seniors home before Christmas. Throughout the event, I was very encouraged to see our youth having fun while trying new things and making friends.
A big thank you to the volunteers (Leanne, Payam, Carla and Monireh) who helped us make kick-off a successful event. YMAP is officially “Kicked-Off” for the year!
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