Tomaree Youth Community Action folds after 20 years of empowerment | Port Stephens Examiner

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After more than 20 years of “empowering young people to reach their potential”, the Tomaree Youth Community Action (TYCA) group has closed its doors.

His demise means the Tomaree Peninsula found itself without a youth resource center to accommodate children and adolescents in areas other than sport, such as the arts, music, recreation and personal development.

Some of TYCA’s most successful events over the past two decades have included their annual Youth Week skating competitions, which have attracted over 300 people, and the hugely popular Snak’n’rap Days held across the country. the LGA, which “would bring the kids together to have a skate, a sausage sandwich and a chat.”

For TYCA founder and former East Port Stephens Councilor Sally Dover, the end that was ratified in a Friday night meeting was “disappointing but a sign of the times.”

“I guess the needs and wants of young people are changing and we have really struggled to attract young people to the committee and keep them interested in the events,” she said.

“Of course, COVID hasn’t helped, in fact lockdowns have made it impossible for us to hold events for the past two years.

“We had to cancel our Youth Week skate competition for the second year in a row in April, deciding instead to have a virtual competition this year, but it failed to garner broad support.”

Ms Dover, who is leaving the Port Stephens area after 34 years to be closer to her family on the south coast, said it was a difficult decision to close TYCA.

She represented the East Ward for 13 years on Port Stephens Council, including six as Deputy Mayor, and while on Council she had the opportunity to support the creation of a scholarship for International Women’s Day in 2018.

“It was agreed at our last meeting to return to the board the money they provided for the skate competition and the remaining funds will go to COPSY, according to our constitution.”

TYCA began when a small group of concerned members of the Christian Outreach Center in Salamander Bay recognized the need to provide a skate park for children in the area.

“Following a successful skating competition in November 1999 in Anna Bay, a committee was formed and arranged with the COC to use their auditorium as a skating venue, which would accommodate over 120 skaters,” said Mr. Dover. .

“The Salamander Youth Resource Committee was established in July 2000 to continue and expand the work with the cooperation of the Port Stephens Council. The committee prepared plans and a proposal for an indoor skate park to be built near the Tomaree Pool was presented to council on August 2, 2000. “

The plans lay dormant for a decade before TYCA was incorporated on June 8, 2010.

“A notice of motion was filed on that date asking council to investigate the allocation of land to Aquatic Close for a youth center,” said Ms. Dover.

“Despite the years of work TYCA members have with the youth of Port Stephens, the board has remained unresponsive to the proposal for a youth center.”

Ms Dover said she renewed her push for a center during a public access speech to the council on May 22, 2018.

“The council’s only response was an email dated November 13, 2018, noting that the master plan for the Tomaree Sports Complex included a site for a building but did not specify its use … depending on the funding that could be secured.”

The $ 3.2 million building is currently under construction.

Outgoing President Avril Saunders said it was a tough decision, but it had to be made.

“It’s been a difficult two years with COVID which made it difficult for us to organize events and attract new volunteers. Sally has been a mainstay for the group and with her evolution we thought it was the right time to dissolve, ”she said.

Clinton Bridge, community and recreation coordinator for Port Stephens Council, said the facility had accessible amenities, changing rooms, storage rooms, a canteen, umpires room, first aid and space meeting and event.

“It includes a large space for receptions and events and a smaller meeting room which can be used by sports committees and youth services.”

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