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Youth Justice Committee needs help to give second chances

We’ve all made mistakes in our youth.
    Some of those mistakes are bigger than others, even landing some young men and women on the wrong side of the law.
    Thanks to the efforts of the volunteer Youth Justice Committee, those mistakes may not hold back kids who have made mistakes. But, the committee needs help.
    At the annual general meeting on March 5 at 7:00 p.m.  in the AV room of the Civic Centre the Committee will be looking for more volunteers to help. At the moment, there are six members.
    The low membership at the moment has made the job of the Committee more challenging explains member Randy van Dyk.
    “It’s hard to get three people together at the same time to schedule a meeting,” said van Dyk. “With more members you have more skills and different perspectives.”
    “It’d be great if there were more people on the Committee. The program really helps the community,” said probation officer Kristi Donison. “It is a way to be a positive adult influence in these kid's lives, some of them don’t have one.”
    The Committee started roughly one year ago. Similar programs are present throughout Alberta.
    The Committee meets with youth who have been charged with a crime to find out the circumstances of the crime and determine a meaningful punishment.
    The Committee does not determine innocence or guilt. The youth must have admitted their guilt.
    “We sit with them and find out what happened, there’s always two sides to a story,” said van Dyk. “If they broke a window or vandalism, we might make them pay to clean things up.”
    Should the youth comply, they slate is wiped clean and they do not have a criminal record to hold them back in work or travel.
    “It’s a way to give the youth a chance so they won’t have a criminal record. If you end up getting a criminal record, that affects you for the rest of your life,” said van Dyk.
    Of course, the youth involved has to put in the effort to be redeemed. Should they fail, the Committee sends them to the courts.
    The Committee has been successful so far.
    “We’ve had quite a few successful cases. Some of the kids are now working and they’re doing well,” said van Dyke. “It feels good.”
   


Rosebud musician top of Canadian Opera Company viola section

The Canadian Opera Company Orchestra is a prestigious gig for any classical musician. Being named principal of a section is an honour.
    Keith Hamm, only 22 years of age, auditioned for, and became  one of the youngest people to have been named principal of a section, namely of the violas.
    The Canadian Opera Company Orchestra was created in 1977 and is the oldest opera orchestra in Canada. The orchestra has a permanent membership of 50 instrumentalists.
    Keith grew up in Rosebud and is the son of Rosebud Theatre’s musical director Bill Hamm. While most young boys dream of playing guitar or drums, Keith gravitated to the classics and the violin at the age of five.
    “He heard a student, April Bellamy who also lives in Rosebud, play in church and wanted to play,” explained Bill.  “He was five years old and we got him started. He kept going steady, practiced some, and performed a lot with the Rosebud Theatre and dinner theatre.”
    At the age of 15, after playing violin for ten years, Keith decided to in go a new direction. Keith left behind the violin and made the switch to the viola.
    From there, Keith spent two years at Mount Royal College and three at the Glenn Gould School of Music in Ontario. Keith also spent summers in England, Florida, Quebec and at the National Arts Centre honing his skills.
    But, all that changed when he saw an opening for a violist in the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
    “A position opened, and he auditioned thinking that you need experience auditioning to get anywhere. He got it,” said Bill. “He was as shocked as anybody.”
    This week, Keith’s family will be heading out to see their son in his new position for the first time.
    Keith will be performing in two operas; Tosca and Love From Afar.
    “We didn’t know how far he was going to go or how it was going to happen but that’s the way it worked out,” said Hamm.

Skateboard park project gaining traction

The Drumheller Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts (DASE) is one step closer to building  a skateboard park in Drumheller.
    At the February 13 meeting of the Drumheller Town Council, a letter from the DASE was presented. The letter asked for the Town for help in securing funding.
    The skateboard park is thought to be a vital need for the youth in the community. The DASE has been campaigning for a new park since the one next to the Aquaplex shut its doors because it was deemed too hazardous.
    “It helps with the youth in the community and gives them something to do during the summer months,” said Trevor Gough, treasurer of the DASE. “In addition, the park would be designed in such a way to allow for other uses such as gardening activities, farmers’ markets, music fests, and as a destination to bring visitors to Drumheller.”
    At the moment, the DASE has managed to raise roughly $100,000 towards a new skateboard park. To get development moving, the group estimates that $500,000 is needed.
     For the remaining funds, the DASE has identified the federally funded Canadian Heritage Building Communities Through Arts and the Heritage Legacy grants. To be eligible to apply, the Town of Drumheller must pass a motion of support for the DASE application.
    Council supported the DASE initiative and now the process of creating and submitting the grant by April 1 begins.
    The DASE also needs direct support from the Town of Drumheller for park space to build a new skate park.
    Locations presented to Council include next to the Rotary Spray Park and across Highway 9 from the Spray Park, along the river by Drumheller Valley Secondary School, and the parking space along Railway Ave E.
    “The one that we want most would be close to the Downtown core where it’s much more visible,” said Gough. “The one by the bridge is the most appealing, because it’s on the main corridor. Our plan to be a destination would be helped by the public traffic flow going through there.”
     The DASE’s fundraising efforts are not over; more support from the community is needed to help make the skateboard park a reality.
    To donate either funds or even volunteer time, contact Gough at 403-823-1212.


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