The first of what the Family Resource Network hopes to be many family paint nights was hosted in Kinsmen Park last week.
Family and Youth Resource Network Specialist, Amrit Mathroo, said the event was organized as a joint venture with Strathmore Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and with Trellis.
The idea being that local youth have been asking for more opportunities to do something fun with friends and family that is out and about.
“We’ve got a whole bunch of families here and it’ll hopefully give them a chance to get out, connect with other families, but also just have a fun thing to do during the summer,” said Mathroo.
Response to Wednesday’s event was quite positive, as it was filled to capacity, and some people had to be turned away from participating.
The paint night had invited local Siksiká Nation artist, Dwight Farahat, who commonly engages in youth programming to help run the event.
“We’ve invited him to do a little bit of a youth art program centered around the ‘Wreck This Journal’ book… We thought that would be a lot more fun than just painting a canvas,” explained Mathroo.
The Family Resource Network having only recently been developed in Strathmore, the organization has been looking to engage more opportunities for youth to participate this summer, particularly with COVID-19 restrictions lifting.
“COVID-19 presented a huge challenge for us for… pretty much the entire time we’ve been running programs, so we’ve tried to do things online.
“This is the first time we’re able to do something in person of this scale. It was really nice to be able to have that as an option, and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to continue to run in-person programming while making sure everyone stays safe,” she said.
Launching in April 2020, the Network has been trying to open opportunities for youth engagement in Strathmore, Wheatland County and southeast Rockyview. Wednesday’s event was also funded through United Way, according to Mathroo.
“We’re starting to get the name out so more and more youth are showing up for programs, and we’re hoping that it’ll just take off from here.”
“We’re hoping to run more in the future partnered with other agencies, and hopefully in some of our rural communities as well.”
Family Resource Network services youth up to the age of 18, so a more adult themed paint night, if such and idea were to be brought up, would have to be organized through a different organization. A similar program which is geared more for younger kids is the Mother Goose in the Park.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times