Randi Morgan (left) and Bailey Rumbolt hang out in the Boys and Girls Club of Yukon drop-in space

When Bailey Rumbolt first arrived at the Boys and Girls Club of Yukon (BGCY) in 2015, she would never have guessed that it would lead her to big changes in her life. A shy youth lacking confidence, Rumbolt’s first visits were limited to hanging around outside and avoiding speaking to the staff members at the club. Today, as the youth engagement and recruitment coordinator, she is an important member of the team and viewed as a resource for other youth.

The position is funded through the club’s employment program, Youth on Board, that is jointly run with Volunteer/Bénévole Yukon, who provide wage subsidies and support the participants for five months. In her position, which is a full-time 35 hours per week job, Rumbolt helps get youth involved and helps make sure that programming is set that caters to what they really want to see.

“(Youth) have started looking at me in a different way,” Rumbolt said. “They come to me for help. Even when they have issues with staff here. It feels really good to have that respect.”

The young woman taking on her leadership role is a stark contrast to the shy youth who arrived in 2015, and staff member Randi Morgan has really seen the changes in Rumbolt over the years. “Bailey has become really outgoing,” Morgan said. “She’s going out to parties around town and engages with the youth. She really looks after them and is a resource.”

Rumbolt credits her involvement at the BGCY for helping her grow as an individual and learn the skills to take on her position. “I appreciate Randi and all the staff,” Rumbolt explained. “Because of them, I have a pathway and a goal.

“It’s made me want to go to school for social work. I want to keep on doing this. I want to work with kids.”

The Youth on Board program is one of the key programs the BGCY is delivering as part of their plans to get back to core programming.

Executive director Lindsay Cornell says that a big part of that is community engagement and bringing in more support to help provide training and opportunities for youth. “Our year-end is June 30 and we have a significant shortfall this year,” Cornell explained. “That’s due to an increase of youth, which leads to an increase in staff, food and transportation.

“We budgeted for eight youth per night, and we are currently at 15 youth per night. We’ve maxed out at 30 youth one night.”

That budgeting crunch has limited some of the programs the BGCY has been able to deliver. They continue to seek additional support to reopen the Weekday Warriors program. “There’s a real need for school-age programs,” Cornell said. “As well, we’re doing leadership and job readiness programs for youth 18 to 25. Those interested can contact us directly.”

The BGCY is providing youth programming in their new drop-in space at 306 Alexander St., next to the Whitehorse Food Bank. They also have summer programs available and registration is open on their website www.bgcyukon.com. For more information, they can be contacted by phone at 867-393-2824.

The boys (and girls) of summer