YouthWrite firmly believes that everyone has a story to tell, and the organization is celebrating 25 years. The non-profit organization best known for its youth writing camps is hosting a variety of events over the weekend to honour alumni, former participants and instructors, and to introduce new faces to YouthWrite’s work.
“It’s sort of a cornucopia of delights for everyone,” says Gail Sidonie Sobat, writer and YouthWrite coordinator. “It’s family friendly, but most of all it’s an opportunity to explore YouthWrite and to find out what using words well in one’s life can mean.”
YouthWrite’s 25th Anniversary Block Party kicks off Saturday with activities at Highlands Park including storytelling with Tololwa Mollel, comic creation with artists from Drawn to Write, and dance and words with Masani St. Rose. There will also be a word scavenger hunt and limerick bouncy castle where the ticket to bounce is a written limerick or haiku.
Afterwards, head over to McLuhan House as the sun goes down for the gala event and cash bar. Guests can sip on prosecco while they enjoy entertainment from Le Fuzz and the Spoken Word Youth Choir. The festivities continue Sunday in Highlands Park with yoga and writing taught by Victoria Vilaivan followed by a performance from musical guest Bob Jahrig.
“We want to celebrate 25 years of doing this in difficult times, certainly with COVID, but through all kinds of financial ups and downs, through times when political temperatures were changing, and yet we endure and we thrive,” says Sobat. “We really want to celebrate our years of history, and make new kids feel welcome and current kids feel like this is their home and their community.”
YouthWrite’s 25th Anniversary Block Party starts September 25 at Highlands Park (6112 113 Ave.) from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and continues at 6 p.m. at McLuhan House (11342 64 St.). The celebration wraps up September 26 with the first activity starting at 10 a.m.
Each event is free to attend and COVID-19 protocols are in place. The event will be capped at 200 guests, social distancing will be enforced, and masks are mandatory indoors and recommended outdoors.