Kudos to everyone in town who is working to create great things for our young people.

Kudos to everyone in town who is working to create great things for our young people. Youth Centers may well be considered essential resources for the youth of today for the reasons so well-articulated by the Crookston Youth Foundation (CYF) in the news.  

    Prairie Skyline Foundation’s (PSF) reuse plan for the old Cathedral’s Community Center is alike in so many ways. Some of the only differences are that we (PSF) have are an arts feature and it will be open to all ages.          The 2010 reuse plan for the old Cathedral was originally for a youth art center.  Over the years, the plan has evolved into a “Community Center with Art and Heart,” the “Young at HArt Center.”

    One of the reasons behind having arts activities available to members of the community of all ages, is that working on projects gives people something to talk about with each other.  The arts activities are meant to give people opportunities to meet, visit, create, heal, dream & share their passions with each other.  Elementary schools can bring their students to utilize the portable art stations which seem to be perfect for the side aisles of the old Cathedral, as is the former altar space is perfect for a stage.

    The costs of operating and running youth centers can make it hard to keep them going.  So, we were glad to read about Tom Amiot's donation for the youth center. Yet donors can only do so much.  In our projected profit and loss statements, one might say the difference between breaking even and always operating in the hole, is the cost of an Executive Director. There are ways to not have an Executive Director, for example, having the space operated by a 4-H Club or other non-profit. Non-profit organizations still must pay rent and heating costs too.  Therefore, we have often talked of having a new fund, like the Flood Fund, for community development organizations to apply to fund their projects.  This “Fun Fund” could have the potential to put activities in every vacant downtown storefront!

    Competition for grant funding and donations are always with us and is one of the unspoken issues that separates groups from working together.  Another divisive point is different viewpoints of just what a youth center or community center should be like.  The purpose of this letter to the Community is to point out these problems and to propose a coordination of efforts and/or a “Fun Fund.”

    Those that know me, know I often speak of the success of the informal wraparound services (and monies) service providers coordinated in the recovery of the Flood of ’97.  Later they coordinated the services and dollars around farm families affected by disaster.  This method worked because we had to give up turf” to make the “system” work best for people, and this method can work to solve these issues with downtown and economic and community development.  Putting a member of the City Council on every Board of every group that is trying to do something is just not possible.  There are after all, only nine of them, who like me also work a full-time job.  But sending a staffer or volunteer to an informal meeting is entirely possible. The overall coordination of this group must be a neutral party to make it work. The more we learn about each other the more we can work together better for the common good.  We can maximize and leverage scarce resources, while building our own source of funds.

Kay Hegge
Prairie Skyline Foundation
Crookston