Rotary Club of North Muskoka members invited Marcy Hill, ministry director for The Door Youth Centre in Huntsville, to share some stories about the nonprofit organization's road so far in the COVID-19 pandemic.
CONNECTING YOUTH IN A PANDEMIC
 
Marcy said the centre, which was sponsored in part by our club in 2020, was not only able to continue to operate during the pandemic, though with public health measures in place, because it offers programs related to youth mental health, but was also able to offer more programs due to community support.
 
Programs included self-esteem, exercise, environmental and food programs, plus coaching for youth and parents, as well as virtual offerings such as online baking sessions and socials. 
 
But, said Marcy, online school made Zoom socials old real fast. 
 
Regardless, increased provincial restrictions as the pandemic continued meant the centre offered more of its programs virtually, rather than in person, and she said it was important to continue as many programs as possible, especially as "services in Huntsville around mental health are packed right now."
 
At the time of our meeting, Marcy said it was unclear what the latest provincial shutdown and stay-at-home order would mean for the centre's program offerings; but she noted personal connection was vital, particularly for teens struggling in the pandemic. 
 
"This wouldn't happen if organizations like yours didn't exist and work so hard on your end," said Marcy. "Thank you."
 
She added the centre also had renovations planned for its Brunel Road location to address the need for some structural repairs, and some aesthetic remodelling to spruce up the entrance. 
 
Learn more about the centre and its programs at yfc.ca/highlands/huntsville/.