Megan Bradshaw plays a friendly round of foosball against Daniel Sluys and Jaeden Munro at 'The District' last Sunday

A place for Agassiz and Harrison youth to belong

Local teens invited to Agassiz Agricultural Hall for Sunday evening drop-in event

Central Community Church is hosting a weekly drop-in event for youth and wants all local teens to know about it.

The church, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary in Agassiz last Sunday, has started a youth ministry for students from grades 7-12. ‘The District’ features activities like foosball, ping pong and air hockey. But more than just games, ’The District’ is a place for teens to feel a sense of belonging and build relationships, explains organizers.

Jon Kornelsen is the youth pastor at Central Community Church, which has its main campus in Chilliwack. Kornelsen says this weekly event is a place where teens can feel safe, can connect and just be themselves.

“We want to provide a place where they can belong, are known, and cared for,” says Kornelsen. “We want to see lives changed. That’s our heart.”

‘The District’ started last September and so far is going well. There’s approximately 15 youth showing up every week. For 2015, they’ve revamped the program to be more about relationship building. The co-ordinators hope to have a large turnout for their proper kick-off event taking place February 8 which will include a dodgeball tournament, barbecue, ping pong, video games and more.

When Central Community Church decided to launch a campus in Agassiz, they looked at the gaps locally. And they found that social activities for youth were really lacking. Kornelsen says local youth face tough issues such as drugs, teen pregnancy, and sexually-transmitted disease.

“There’s nothing really for students,” explains Kornelsen. “Students need that connection and relationship. They need a place they can come and be cared for and belong.”

They partnered with Harrison Gospel Chapel to start up the youth ministry. Central’s Agassiz campus pastor Eldon Fehr and Harrison Gospel’s pastor Brian Cool both felt it was important for churches to work together.

“We want a greater sense of community in our teens,” says Cool. “We want to do something positive and real.”

Down the road, Kornelsen and fellow youth co-ordinator Dan Sluis would like to start doing monthly events such as hikes or camping, or perhaps a skate competition in the summer. They’ve discussed the idea of starting a teen mom’s group as well, to help practically with things like money management and cooking on a budget. But for now, they just encourage local teens to come out next Sunday and see what it’s all about.

‘The District’ runs from 7-9 p.m. every Sunday evening at the Agassiz Agricultural Hall. All students from grades 7-12 are welcome.