Flanked by Youth for Christ Victoria’s Rick Wismer and Wally Bidwell, Cowichan Tribes youth outreach worker Leon Johnny, health director, Jennifer Jones, and Chief William Seymour check out the Blue Bus. [Submitted]

Flanked by Youth for Christ Victoria’s Rick Wismer and Wally Bidwell, Cowichan Tribes youth outreach worker Leon Johnny, health director, Jennifer Jones, and Chief William Seymour check out the Blue Bus. [Submitted]

New program aimed for Cowichan Tribes youth

Local aboriginal youth ages 8-12 will be able to take advantage of a new program

In collaboration with Cowichan Tribes officials, local aboriginal youth ages 8-12 will be able to take advantage of a new program offered by Youth for Christ Victoria starting next month.

The program will be based out of a giant, shiny blue bus, parked on Mulaqw Road, and will include snacks, games, First Nation language, crafts and a “God talk” according to Rick Wismer, a spokesman for Youth for Christ Victoria.

“The program will evolve as the team gets to know the youth and discover their interests and needs,” Wismer said.

Youth for Christ Victoria is a Christian non-profit organization that partners with local churches and First Nations.

The group’s organizers met with Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour and his administration back in December to see what could be designed for Cowichan youth.

It took a few months to organize but the program is ready to go. To that end, YCV is hosting an “Open Bus” night on Mulaqw Road on April 3, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. for community members to check things out and meet the team running the show.

“They will be providing food and leading games with the focus on introducing themselves and getting to know the community members,” Wismer said.

“While the program is for youth ages 8-12, the team hopes to meet all the elders, parents and youth in the neighbourhood, answer their questions, and invite the youth to come to the weekly program.”

The bus itself is a sight to see. A 2000 Prevost H3-45, it’s currently outfitted with 30 seats and space at the back for activities. It features a big screen television, a sound system and even drop-down tv sets for trips.

“Youth will love the bus,” Wismer said. “But that is just the beginning. The bus baggage bays hold full size hockey nets and an array of sport equipment ready to entertain large groups of lively youth.”

The Blue Bus currently runs programs at Esquimalt, Scianew (Beecher Bay), Tsawout and Tseycum First Nations.

See www.facebook.com/YFCMobileOutreach to learn more.