Local parkour group PK Nakusp is spearheading a campaign to get a youth centre up and running for Nakusp.
The eight youths in the group and their mentor Michael Garvey had recently been hotfooting it around town collecting more than 35 letters of support and commitment as part of an application for CBT’s Community Directed Youth Funds.
The funds are a significant chunk of change – $100,000 over four years – that could help get a youth centre off the ground, and get PK out from underground.
The PK Nakusp club currently meets in the underground fluorescent ambiance of the curling rink portion of the Nakusp Arena, with leaders meeting a couple times a week to train and to discuss leadership, and to hang out.
The PK leaders are all under the age of majority, although there are many adults who are interested in the tumbling, balance and strength exercises that are parkour.
“It’s hard to get insurance for adult PK. The insurance companies don’t know what PK is,” explained Liva Niquidet.
Niquidet, fresh from handstands, was one of the team who collected signatures from students in grades six to twelve in preparation for the funding application. She also was part of the group who took their proposal to Lynda Lafleur at the CBT.
What Niquidet would like to see come into being is a building dedicated as a youth centre near the schools so it’s easy for kids to get to.
“A hundred thousand dollars is not a whole lot of money when you’re building a new building,” said Bailey Henschke, but she sees the potential for getting more grants to go toward construction, and the potential for offering different classes to youth. Henschke worked with Matteus Dachwitz approaching local businesses to get support for the plan.
More than anything else, kids just need a place to hang out. The sentiment was unanimous among the PK leaders.
“They need a safe place to be when it’s stressful to be at home or there’s school pressure,” said Mel Nevoral.
All the leaders said they just hung out at friends’ houses for the most part right now, which keeps kids isolated and restricts their social circles.
“It enforces a clique society when we really don’t have one here,” Nevoral said.
Cole Lithgow, in his second year with PK Nakusp, has found PK to be a great way to meet new people. The group is close, said Lithgow, and has developed a family-like bond. Now PK Nakusp wants to give all the town’s youth a chance to have a safe, friendly place where they can meet people and feel at home.