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Posted: May 3, 2021

Skatepark Youth Ambassador for Invermere

By Erin Knutson

The District of Invermere has entered into a contract with the Summit Youth Centre (SYC) to hire a Skatepark Youth Ambassador for the Mount Nelson Athletic Park (MNAP) following council’s unanimous decision to move forward with an agreement at their regular Tuesday (April 27) meeting.

“Devin Publikover (Program Coordinator for the SYC) is a good fit to be the ambassador at the park. The idea is to have Devin at the park and funding for a second youth staff to run the outdoor programming at the Summit Youth Centre,” said District Leisure Services Manager Cortney Pitts.

The agreement will provide the necessary financial support for the MNAP to employ its new part-time youth ambassador and additional staff in a pilot initiative between the district and the SYC.

“Devin currently runs the very successful not-for-profit ‘Rite to Ride’ foundation for skateboarding and snowboarding development with youth in the Invermere area. He is an ideal choice and has a well-established connection with youth at the skatepark and the SYC,” said a district staff report.

Funds up to $3,600 designated over four months (May. 1 – Sept. 5), including $1,000 worth of snacks for youth participants, are contingent on the SYC providing proof of comprehensive liability insurance to be co-insured by the district for the entirety of the youth ambassador’s employment contract.

Councillors Greg Anderson and Gerry Taft tabled concerns over protocol regarding shared liability insurance, including confirmation of criminal background checks for employees working with youth.

According to the BC Public Service, a Criminal Records Review Act Check is compulsory for all employees interacting with youth under 19 and vulnerable adults.

“I think this is a good opportunity to support an existing not-for-profit, and it’s going to be a lot more appreciated than the district trying to do this on our own. It makes a lot of sense. The only thing is ensuring a system of checks and balances,” said Taft.

The Skatepark Youth Ambassador role will promote ‘respectful’ behaviour at the park through education, awareness, and youth outreach.

“I’m happy to see all that went into this and all of your hard work preparing this. After seeing parents reach out with concerns about the park to talking to the youth through my work, it sounds like a really good solution. I’m optimistic about the impact, and I think this is a good way to go with it,” said Coun. Kayja Becker.

Lead image: Summit Youth Centre Program Coordinator Devin Publikover. Photo submitted

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