John Johnston has been with Youth HQ since the Boys and Girls Club came to Red Deer looking for a Camp Coordinator in 1983. He never left the organization, which provides programs to empower youth by fostering a community of support and a safe environment to learn and grow. Johnston is now the Community Engagement Manager for Youth HQ, feels he joined at a critical time for the organization, and it’s provided him a lot of intangible rewards over the years. He finds it especially fulfilling when kids come back many years later and tell them how much impact YouthHQ has had in their lives.
YouthHQ has had a difficult time during the COVID-19 pandemic in meeting fundraising goals. Due to the restrictions they’ve had to cut back on some of their big fundraising events like the Haunted house that usually raise thousands of dollars for their programs.
Likewise many of the camp programs in Alberta have had to shut down completely during this time, including those organized by YouthHQ. Even though they can’t host the kids at the moment, they are still working on improvements to the camps, along with new activities. They’ve been able to achieve these project goals by building strong working relationship with the regions energy companies, and corporate sponsorships , but they still are seeing shortfalls.
Johnston says that it’s especially critical that Youth HQ is able to meet its fundraising goals during this time. Many of the kids haven’t been able to spend time with their friends or attend the camps they used to, and for some this has exacerbated mental health issues.
Reeves College is proud to partner with Youth HQ through a Candy Gram event that will aid them in raising funds for their programs, as well as fund scholarships for youth in the community. From February 9th-28th, the college will be selling $3 Candy Grams to students and staff, with all proceeds going directly to Youth HQ and their programs.