News: Ontario News

MISA Ontario presents $7,000 to Grey local not-for-profit Launch Pad YATC

June 20, 2016  
Posted by: Jacqueline O'Hara
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From left to right, Bernie Blakeney, Launch Pad IT Support; Christine Swenor, President
MISA Ontario; Jacinda Rudolph, Launch Pad Project Manager.


On the last day of the MISA Ontario 2016 Annual Conference, Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre (YATC) was presented with a $7,000 cheque to support their current and future initiatives.  The conference gathers municipal IT professionals, managers, and the companies that work with them for three days of keynote speeches, workshop presentations and trade-show displays to illustrate the direction in which municipal technologies and strategies are headed. 

Each year, Municipal Information Systems Association, Ontario (MISA Ontario) selects and raises funds for a local not-for-profit where the annual conference is held.  This year’s conference was held at Blue Mountain Resort in Grey County and Launch Pad YATC was the selected not-for-profit.  The $7,000 cheque was raised with the support of Grey County, conference delegates, and a raffle sponsored by OnX & IBM held at the conference.

Launch Pad YATC is a drop in centre for youth aged 12-18 that opened its doors in 2015.  Currently sitting at approximately 250 members, the centre was created for youth in Grey & Bruce Counties and it provides a safe learning environment where they have access to technology, skill building opportunities, arts and recreation. 

I had the opportunity to connect with Launch Pad’s Project Manager, Jacinda Rudolph, to talk about their plans for the future, and the importance of their partnership with Grey County.  We also talked about her first experience at the MISA Ontario Annual Conference.

 

What is the overall mandate and future vision for Launch Pad YATC? 

Launch Pad’s mission is to provide a safe, inclusive and engaging environment where youth can participate in programs and initiatives that connect them to their community while fostering positive social interactions and personal skill development. Our future vision is for all rural communities to realize that our young people matter. Their experience in our region here and now matters.  Their attitude and perception about life, opportunity and their role in our future matters. They will decide what rural communities succeed and thrive in the coming years.  Our future vision is being a part of this change and realization!

What are some of the challenges you ran into when starting this not-for-profit? 

Funding is always a challenge as a not-for-profit!  Finding corporations and businesses to invest in our centre before it was actually open was quite difficult.  Once we opened and had members join and use the facility, it became a lot easier.

What is the proudest moment you have experienced since this facility opened? 

Personally, my proudest moment is seeing the change the centre has made in one of our members.  It’s not the 250 members that we have coming in to the centre… it’s really the difference it has had in one kid.  This member used to come in, go straight to the computer and put headphones on.  He never said hello to staff or other members and he would often tell us that he’s lonely and doesn’t have any friends.  Now a year later, he’s our most “popular & loyal” member.  He greets us on a personal level all the time, has a group of friends that he works with and is our Launch Pad helper when we have tours and events. 

How did you connect with MISA Ontario?  

Through a partnership with Grey County.  Grey County is one of our biggest supporters and they have helped us in the Phase II of our project.  They have continued to market and promote Launch Pad from all different departments within the County.

What was your experience like at the MISA Ontario Annual Conference? 

FANTASTIC!  Everyone at the conference was so interested in learning about Launch Pad.  We felt welcomed from the moment they invited us, to this moment now where I’m asked to talk about our centre after the conference!  The networking was a key part of our experience.  Meeting some great IT leaders in the area, receiving some great contacts and Alphinat (one of the Trade Show participants) is also donating software to Launch Pad to help make our IT programs more accessible to those non-IT savvy members.

Any other information or future events you have planned would like people to know about?

We will be hosting a re-opening in the fall of our new trades, events and training space.  Date to be determined and there are still spaces for sponsorship of the new space!

How can people give a donation?

They can definitely contact me at yatc@hanover.ca or 1-519 506-6300.  They could donate money to a program or the space in general.  Alternately, they could sponsor and sign up for a naming opportunity.  Any donations given to Launch Pad will receive a charitable receipt.


To find out more information about Launch Pad YATC you can visit their website at: http://www.yatc.ca/

To find out more Grey County’s partnership with Launch Pad YATC and their other initiatives, you can visit: http://www.grey.ca/smart  

To find out more information about MISA Ontario and membership you can visit the MISA Ontario Home Page