LaunchPad, a new Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Hanover, is a place where young people between the ages of 12 and 18 can explore the world through a wide range of activities – art, digital media, software, music, entrepreneurship, computer hardware, hands-on and just plain fun. Staff at the centre encourage the young people to see how their talents and innovative ideas can help them and their communities grow.
At LaunchPad, young people learn important skills that can improve their employability, and make new connections with employers and local leaders in their communities. The hope is that they’ll stay and work in the area after they graduate high school.
The community is behind this initiative in a big way. There are currently 88 community partners that work with the 248 registered youth members, providing mentorship, skills development opportunities and enhanced employability for youth.
The Town of Hanover held an information session on June 14, 2016 to discuss the necessary steps required to open a facility like the LaunchPad Youth Activity & Technology Centre in other communities. This session was in attended by a number of municipalities and organizations including the Town of Collingwood, Municipality of Meaford, Municipality of Saugeen Shores, Municipality of Brockton, Township of Southgate, Municipality of Grey Highlands, Town of St. Marys, Grey County, the Town of Hanover and OMAFRA.
In 2014, LaunchPad received start-up funding from the Ontario Rural Economic Development program. In February 2016, the Economic Developers Council of Ontario recognized the efforts of the Town of Hanover to keep young people living and working in the community by establishing LaunchPad.
The centre is open Tuesday to Friday, 3:30 to 8:00pm at 612 10th St. in Hanover. To learn more about LaunchPad, visit their website at www.yatc.ca or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/launchpadyatc/.