'The future looks good': Behchoko youth flock to new rec centre
Hockey association and new tournaments planned in $15 million complex
"I was so happy, because I had a new place."
That kind of reaction warms the heart of Jesse Bierman, the recreation manager at Behchoko's new Khon Go Cho complex.
- PHOTOS | 10 years in the making: Behchoko celebrates new sports complex
- Behchoko, N.W.T., new sportsplex opening delayed due to permits, gym renos
During CBC's visit to the complex Thursday, eight-year-olds and nine-year-olds line up to say how much they love it. Once their school day ends, they make a short walk to the centre and throw themselves into Bierman's all-new after-school programming.
There are judo classes, movie nights, cooking lessons and opportunities to learn traditional sewing. A hockey association is being formed and a volleyball tournament is planned.
"It's great. We have a lot of parental involvement," says Bierman, "and youth are coming in every day. We average 40 to 60 kids playing with all the games in the youth centre, skating around and playing in the gym."
The $15 million centre, funded in part by federal and Tlicho government grants alongside cash from Dominion Diamond Corporation, experienced several delays before opening.
The centre is providing employment for around 20 people, with up to eight working at any one time.
On top of that, local business FC Services is leasing part of the building to run a concessions stand.
The company's operations manager, Luke Grosco, says he made a point of hiring youth from the community to work in the new space.
"Ten years ago we had hockey teams, soccer teams, volleyball teams, whole tournaments and Arctic Winter Games tryouts. It's a very exciting time right now. The whole community is excited and the future looks good."
"It's very fulfilling," adds Bierman.
"Seeing everyone coming over here laughing and smiling, participating, and seeing how many youth are actually using this facility is a really good feeling."