BONNYVILLE – There's a buzz around town about the new youth facility coming to Bonnyville.
Teens and young adults throughout the Lakeland region will have access to the Hive in the New Year. The facility, which falls under the Bonnyville Primary Care Network (PCN), will be located in Bonnyville but open to 14- to 21-year-olds throughout the area.
“The Hive is an integrated youth club,” explained Jesse Stein, executive director for the PCN. “The focus is geared towards (several) dimensions of wellness. That’s physical, spiritual, mental, and social. A number of different areas that we will provide service can be one-to-one services to youth, classes, or different educational opportunities where youth can come and seek support that is just for youth. They will have a safe and secure place where they can access these resources that are just focused on their needs.”
What services will be offered will be finalized in the coming months and the PCN will be spreading awareness about the Hive before the facility is open to the public in the new year.
The work to get a youth facility in the area has been ongoing for a couple of years. The project was originally brought to the region by a local nurse practitioner, Chantel Vallee, and a needs assessment was launched to see what holes there were when it came to services for youth.
“We did that assessment and that was about a year-long process with some grant funding,” Stein explained. “As we navigated that, it was determined that there was a need in this community.”
Unfortunately, development was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been working aggressively over the last six months to get this back on track,” Stein exclaimed. “It’s definitely been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, but we’ve now captured some funding and will be moving forward with operations.”
An important factor for the PCN when they were developing the Hive was collecting feedback from local youth. Everything from the services that will be offered to the name of the facility were determined based on focus groups and information they gathered from those who will be frequenting the building.
The Hive was chosen after 23 youths from the area came together for an exercise from all different backgrounds and ages.
“Through an exercise of understanding what kind of vibe they wanted, what kind of character, what they wanted to see in the facility, and how they wanted it to be inclusive and barrier free, they created the logo,” detailed Stein. “The Hive is meant to be inclusive and no bee is left behind. They’re all included in the Hive as being individual and accepted.”
The colours that were chosen, blue and yellow, have a retro feel to them and Stein said “it’s meant to not be too bold, but calming and inclusive to the communities and youth.”
The PCN continued to listen to local youth when it came to what services they wanted to see offered. According to Stein, they polled just under 50 potential users to rank the priority of services they wanted to see at the Hive.
They will include financial literacy classes, access to health services such as nurse practitioners and sexual health clinics, computer labs, food classes, nutrition supports, movie nights, fitness classes, and cultural and spiritual opportunities to learn from local Indigenous communities.
“We’re really trying to honour different aspects that the youth can learn from each other and how we can create a safe space.”
When asked why it was important to reach out to youth about the Hive, Stein stressed they wanted to ensure they knew they were being heard.
“We wanted to work with the youth to come up with something that is sustainable and viable and help them get through the challenging years of moving from being a child and adolescent to adulthood,” she explained. “It was really critical for us that diverse youth within those age groups had a voice.”