City receives Play Works’ Gold Youth Friendly Community designation

A great town to live in AND to play in!

Guelph, ON, April 10, 2015 – The City of Guelph is one of Ontario’s newest Youth Friendly Communities.

The City, along with the City of Sault Ste. Marie, the towns of Gananoque and Oakville, and Municipality of South Huron, were honoured on March 25 for their outstanding commitment to providing youth with opportunities to play, and participate in and contribute to their communities.

Guelph received Play Works’ gold designation, which represents the successful demonstration of 15 of 16 Youth Friendly Community criteria. Recognition levels include bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Since 2005, 41 Ontario communities have been recognized as youth friendly.

Play Works, an independent group of organizations committed to encouraging and promoting a greater investment in youth play, established the Youth Friendly Community Recognition Program to recognize communities across Ontario that meet the ever growing needs of adolescent youth ages 13 to 19 from arts to recreation to civic leadership.

“This achievement is a great reflection of Guelph’s commitment to young people and the efforts our community continues to make in supporting youth and youth opportunities,” says Adam Rutherford, project manager of Youth Services and who accepted the award on behalf of the City at the annual Parks and Recreation Forum held in the Town of the Blue Mountains.

“Often the first thing that springs to mind when we talk about Guelph being a great place to raise a family is the programs and services for young children. But opportunities for teens are just as important,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “I’m thrilled that Guelph has been awarded Play Works’ Gold Youth Friendly Community designation. It demonstrates that Guelph is a great place for young people to grow into adulthood.”

Play Works defines a Youth Friendly Community as a community that actively supports and provides opportunities for the growth and development of youth through play—non-school activities that have elements of choice, leads to satisfaction, and encourages progressive learning.

“Play isn’t just playing. It is an essential and necessary aspect of development for youth. When you make youth play a priority, they help youth reach their full potential. Youth Friendly Communities help to build a skilled and employable workforce, a creative cultural community, and healthier individuals,” says Hallie Atter, chair of Play Works.

In Guelph, accomplishments include the ongoing development of community youth space such as the soon-to-be built community skatepark; providing youth with unique leadership opportunities such as the Guelph Youth Council, the Canadian Mental Health Association’s GLOWW Group, and Activate Guelph—a youth conference held in Southwestern Ontario; and supporting recreation and support services for young people through the STEPS Program at Wyndham House.


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