AWCS Youth Programs

OUR PROGRAMS

WELCOME
You are about to be part of a unique experience in youth writing and creative education and we’re excited about what you will bring to our programs. The AWCS Youth Program is a collaborative place where our youth are as big a part of the process as the adults. This program is for you, which means youth have a voice here too!

AWCS YOUTH MANDATE
The Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society’s youth programs aim to foster creativity, community, and leadership in an accepting and supportive environment.

OUR HISTORY

The History of the AWCS Youth Program
In September 2010 Kim Firmston and Emily Firmston (then nine-years-old) started a unique youth writing club, under the umbrella of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society (AWCS), with the purpose to provide a space to grow Calgary’s under-served youth literary arts community. At that time, we were the only youth writing group in Calgary and unique in our teaching style to other youth writing groups in Alberta and Canada. As a result, we drew kids from communities both inside and outside the Calgary area and garnered interest from other cities and countries.

Growing quickly in youth, programs, and project partnerships with community groups, we set our aim for the AWCS to become the premier place in Calgary for youth writing programming as well as a hub in the youth writing community.

The AWCS Youth Programs promote writing, literacy, communication, creativity, teamwork, and leadership, demonstrating how these skills can be applied to many other aspects of life. We coax many youth away from isolation and anxiety and assist them in developing the skills to be confident writers, strong presenters, great team members, fearless leaders, amazing self-advocates, and compassionate members of the greater creative community. These skills translate back into school, work, and home settings in the form of self-confidence and advocacy.

Upon moving to cSpace we have been able to expand our services and partnerships and continue a careful well throughout growth to support our youth and the various communities we belong to.

Today our membership has grown exponentially, and many young creators take advantage of our large variety of programing. We look forward to a bright future supporting our youth in becoming the adult leaders, creative problem solvers, and communicators the world needs.

OUR CULTURE
Our youth culture was put into place over the first few meetings of our existence, and through careful monitoring and vigilance, we have been able to maintain this through our continued growth. Our Youth Culture is based on lifting each other up and helping each other out, no matter what the age. All of us (youth and adult) are on a creative journey and even though we are different ages and are at different stages, we are all peers.

The AWCS Youth Program started with one rule – Don’t be a jerk. Of course, that being rather broad, a more nuanced AWCS Youth Program Covenant has developed over the years which showcase just what our AWCS Youth Culture is and how it operates.

AWCS Youth Program Covenant
March 2020
1. Treat others with respect and kindness. We’re all friends here, or soon will be. We must protect and care for each other. Lift each other up and support each other.
2. If there is an issue between members, working with the instructors/mentors to find a solution makes us stronger. We are able to go to the Youth Liaison or the Youth Program Director if we feel we aren’t getting the answers or solution we need.
3. Listen to each other. Everyone’s ideas are valid and important. Create a space where sharing is not met with criticism.
4. Be respectful to both the people in the AWCS, the larger arts community of cSpace, and the facility and items within.
5. This is a safe place for you to be you. Neurodiversity, gender choice, sexuality, ethnicity, physical diversity, and more are what make us who we are. By accepting each other now, we can grow into our best selves. Therefore, we will always do our best to take into account each other’s needs and use proper pronouns.
6. We all do our part to set up, clean up, and maintain the space.
7. We value self-respect and growth as well as the ability to share skills with others. We will embrace the weirdness.
8. And finally, we will use the skills we learn here to better the world and do good.

YOUR VOICE
Youth have a voice and can come to the Youth Liaison or Youth Program Director with concerns, issues, or ideas on how to strengthen, support, and expand the AWCS Youth Programs. We want you to make this your program too. You are welcome to share your knowledge through teaching, mentoring, volunteering, or joining the Youth Council.

YOUTH LIAISON
The Youth Liaison is the official intermediary between the youth and the adults, taking your thoughts, ideas, and concerns to the Youth Council and Youth Program Director. They must be part of TWO classes or clubs (or a class/club and events), and sit on the Youth Council. The Youth Liaison must visit every evening class/club once per year and attend events.

OUR PROGRAMS