Coffee, crepe and snack shop will be housed in a separate location

    On the day the lease was officially signed giving them access to the space, the Crookston Youth Foundation Board of Directors, along with some members of the CYF’s Youth Board, held a planning meeting at the former This Is Sew Broadway location at 113 South Broadway downtown.

    The space will serve as the home base for the CYF operation, but will predominantly serve as a youth center. The goal is to open the doors within a couple weeks or so, board members told the Times in a question-and-answer session prior to the start of their Tuesday evening meeting, even if at that time the youth center, with its furniture, games and other equipment and amenities, is still a work in progress.

   “The idea is to open in two weeks or so and from there progressively renovate,” CYF Board member Jerry Persson said.

   The CYF was born thanks to a donation of seed money from Tom Amiot, who wanted to see something positive launched for Crookston area youth that could also be sustainable. As part of that, since day one the plan has been to help cover the CYF’s ongoing operational costs with revenue from a coffee, crepe and snack shop, to be called “The Seed.” Early visions of having the youth center and snack shop located in the same location have not come to fruition, so the plan as of now is to have a second location be home to The Seed. The hope and the “anticipation,” CYF Board member Angel Weasner said, is that The Seed will be located downtown as well. The timeline for getting The Seed up and running is a little more open-ended, board members said, as there are negotiations to navigate and it’s anticipated that additional renovations at the coffee/crepe/snack shop site will be necessary. An opening of The Seed in the fall is possible, board members said.

    As for the CYF and youth center’s home, Weasner said the most extensive renovations involve making a bathroom handicapped accessible.

    Whether it’s providing labor on a volunteer basis or donating furnishings and equipment, CYF Board member Shannon Stassen and Amiot both noted Tuesday that the community has and continues to step up, but that continued donations are welcome. Stassen also stressed that members of the CYF Youth Board will play an integral role as the youth center and its various components take shape.

    “This is their place; they’re coming up with the design and feel, and they’re really champing at the bit to start making it look like a youth center over the next couple weeks,” Stassen said. “They’re also helping us come up with policies and procedures, like how we handle misbehavior or the breaking of rules.”

    Asked about the level of adult presence at the CYF youth center, Amiot said there will always be at least one adult supervisor on-site. Teams of volunteer supervisors are currently being formed, he said, and the selection process includes background checks and additional vetting. “There will always be an adult here, and very likely more than one,” Amiot added.

    The CYF’s documentation includes an ambitious and comprehensive list of goals and objectives and positive outcomes for youth who utilize the CYF and its youth center. Asked Tuesday by the Times what resources will be sought or what response or other actions will kick in if it’s apparent that a young person at the youth center is in trouble, struggling or for whatever reason appears to be in need of some type of intervention, CYF Board members said a resource list of experts and professionals in the community will be available to be accessed as needed.

    “We have had these conversations with existing resources in Crookston; we’re blessed to have them and they have been involved in the process for quite some time,” Stassen said. “We absolutely want this to be a safe haven, where every young person feels like they can come to have a good time and get some help.”