YWCA Summer Space Camp and My City, My Safety! Team Up for a Day

17 Juil

On July 9th, My City, My Safety! Youth mentors put into practice what they have learned to date by animating a whole day of activities for the YWCA’s Summer Space Camp for girls.

The camp which takes place at the Segal Center for performing arts targets girls aged 10 to 14 years old. The activities are all focused on developing their leadership skills and self-confidence. The camp offers artistic activities, danse and sports, as well as video making and musical workshops.

This day camp is part of the YWCA Montreal’s youth leadership program, it fosters their self-esteem, critical thinking, and leadership skills. Part of its objective is to prevent all forms of violence which affects the life of girls.

 

The girls’ code of honor which they have developed for the duration of the camp

One of the themes broached during activities is that of girls’ safety. It’s in this context that F.A.C.E Youth mentors prepared a day’s worth of activities, to introduce the 12 girls present to different urban safety issues. We started with some ice-breakers and then discussed what made the girls feel safe and included by drawing a flower and writing their favourite things about the city in its petals.

Drawings made by the girls

Following this, the girls learned to put words on what makes them feel insecure or out of place in public space. To our surprise, they had a LOT to share about their own neighbourhoods … Keeping all of this in mind, we went out for a safety audit walk in the   Mackenzie-King, across from the Segal Center.

Safety audit walk
Poorly maintained area of the park
old and rusty bleachers
no need for an explanation… 
football field. 

Back inside, we handed out some of the pictures taken during the walk. My City, My Safety mentors instructed the girls to « draw what you would change in this picture, if you had a magic wand… »

If I had a magic wand, this is how I would change this park… 

The drawings would have made even Alice in Wonderland jealous…

Ugly apartment bloc transformed, with swimming pool, musical entertainment, rainbow colours, practical, flying car parking, nearby shopping, etc. 
Park with a kid friendly playground, well marked paths, chairs, with lots of people and well maintained. 
Deserted park area transformed with fruit trees, swings, boom box benches, well marked paths and giant umbrellas. 
Recycling and composting, high tech bleachers, ice cream man, etc. 

Even though flying  cars and skittles rain may not happen tomorrow, the message to take back from this is that a bit more cleanliness, animation, music, opportunities for a greater mixity of people,  respect for the environment and places to shop nearby are pretty realistic things to ask for… Here is a hint for decision makers and developers!

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