Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our History

Dundas Youth Chaplaincy operating Routes Youth Centre

A History of Routes


2009 Liter-A-Thon near Volunteer Field

The ministry of Dundas Youth Chaplaincy (DYC) grew out of a concern in the mid to late 1980s for our community’s unconnected and vulnerable young people, and an awareness of troubles in which young people found themselves loitering on the streets and gathering in abandoned buildings. A committee of The Association of Dundas churches, “Dundas Youth Chaplaincy”, was formed and “youth chaplains” scheduled to be available on the streets on weekends, particularly Friday nights. The home of one of the clergy, The Rev. Tim Mauch, our volunteer “Dundas Youth Chaplain,” became a bit of a hub for youth by the early 1990s. Our work in those days included making connections, assisting teens rejected from home and/or school (including short-term housing), and supervising Court-ordered community service “volunteers.”

In September of 1992, DYC chair G. Caldwell called together leaders of the community’s churches, schools, Town Council, Police Services, Public Health, Dundas Community Services, and Recreation Service to discuss the concern from their perspectives and to explore what might be done. Meetings and focus groups ensued while the volunteer chaplaincy work continued.

In the mid 1990s The Salvation Army established a drop-in centre, “The Upper Room,” in their building at 165 King Street West, and monies set aside by The Rotary Club of Dundas for Dundas Youth Chaplaincy was assigned to help equip it. This undertaking failed and the building was sold. In the late 1990s The Army re-established the drop-in at the Armouries on Friday nights under the name “Free Zone,” but had to abandon that effort.

The Community-based group, Dundas Youth Chaplaincy, revived the drop-in (2000) renting the basement of the Carnegie Gallery and staffing it with volunteers. When renovations at the Armouries were complete, the drop-in program was moved to that location. DYC hired a part-time coordinator (2001) to recruit, train and manage our volunteers, to lead the drop-in, and to expand the program to include a “Dinner & Discussion” feature mid week. The name “Routes” was adopted to suggest that we could help youth find more positive ‘routes’ than idleness and loitering on the streets. During this period, DYC continued contact & networking with the youth outside program hours. DYC ran a full-time summer program in the summer of 2002 based out of the Dundas Baptist Church. One of the “Battles of the Bands” nights attracted some 300 youth.

In June of 2003 DYC entered a partnership with The Salvation Army, Dundas, who provided space at their location, and increased the hours of our Youth Worker to full time. In July, 2003, we opened a permanent “place” for youth at 150 King Street West. This dedicated space included two full-size pool tables, table tennis, air hockey, soccer table, game computers, computers with Internet connection, club tables, old sofas and comfy chairs, CD players, and other amenities that were used weekly by 50 to 100 teens. We established a second drop-in (Jive) at The Armouries to split out the younger youth from the high-school youth and to adjust programming accordingly.

Due to the changing national priorities of The Salvation Army (SA), the partnership was dissolved July 1, 2011 and the operation of Routes Youth Centre returned solely to the community-based volunteer group, Dundas Youth Chaplaincy (incorporated 2006). Routes moved to the Armouries shared space on the second floor in 2012 then to the west end annex dedicated space mid September 2013.

Dundas Youth Chaplaincy Board reflects many years of experience in Christian ministry, education, business & industry, municipal leadership, social services, health services, recreation, and years of volunteer community service.

History Edition gdc 10 March 2016

Copyright 2017 by Dundas Youth Chaplaincy