Rory Peters

Rory Peters

It’s a busy summer at Vernon’s Teen Junction

From park days to water slides to the drive-in and running and hiking, it’s a busy and fun summer at Teen Junction Youth Centre.

From park days to water slides to the drive-in and running and hiking, it’s going to be a busy and fun summer for Teen Junction Youth Centre.

“We’ll have our regular programming, open 2 to 6 p.m., with the addition of more excursions and park days at various locations around the community,” said Nicole Makohoniak, Teen Junction program coordinator.

“The activities are free and open to all youth ages 13 to 18, but for some outings it’s limited because of funding and sponsorship. We want to offer the opportunity for youth to try some things they might not have done before, maybe because of the cost.”

Chloe Hancock, 14, has been coming to the centre for several months and telling her friends about it.

“I think this is going to be my favourite part of the summer. I went to a drive-in movie for the first time and I think it will be fun to go to the kangaroo park. And I like doing art. I’m going to keep coming here as long as I can,” she said.

In addition to the park days, and special outings, youth can attend regular programming which includes snacks, dinner, access to board games, musical instruments, computers, the garden, bowling, basketball, birthday parties for frequent attendees, and gym, all supervised. Transportation to off-site activities from the centre is provided.

“I started coming here about four years ago when friends told me about it. I had no idea it existed before. Now I tell people about it,” said Rory Peters, who at 20 is now a peer mentor and much-appreciated handyman.

“I like helping other people out and it’s great to see the kids out and enjoying things. I think one of my favourite memories is when we went out to Ellison Park and spent the whole day swimming and had lunch there.”

While many of the programs depend on sponsorship and donations, the youth are doing their own fundraiser this summer to go to the IPE. They will have bake sales and car washes and make and sell art hula hoops.

“It was interesting when we were at the Sunshine Festival and a lot of former members came up to talk to us, some who have children of their own now, and told us that our programs or another youth program made a big difference in their lives,” said Makohoniuk.

“The youth and staff are working on fall programs now. We hope to offer martial arts and yoga lessons and it would be wonderful if we had some local artists and musicians who would volunteer to offer lessons. We are happy to have any volunteers over 19 who can spend one or two hours a week. It would be great to have some volunteer grandparents. Anyone can help by donating baking or supplies for programs, just ask first what is most needed.”

People who would like to volunteer or make donations of cash or tickets/vouchers for activities can call Makohoniuk at 250-275-3117 or email See The centre also provides information and referrals to community service agencies for youth concerns.

“We’re a place where teens can feel safe and accepted with positive mentors available to any youth ages 13 to 18. No teen should feel left out or alone,” said Wendy Aasen, executive director of Junction Literacy Centre, which manages Teen Junction.