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COLUMN: Calling local youth: Next week is all about you!

National Youth Week provides 'opportunities to showcase and celebrate youth and youth opportunities in our great community,' says Orillia Youth Centre official
Crabrat at the Orillia Youth Centre Friday May 6 at 7 pm
Crabrat will perform at the Orillia Youth Centre May 6 as part of local National Youth Week activities in Orillia.

Well folks, despite what the weather is telling us, it is almost May. What does that mean? I will forgive you for not knowing, because it has been two long years since we celebrated it in any big way, but May 1 to 7 is National Youth Week.

Traditionally, this has been a big deal in our little burgh, thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of Orillia Youth Centre director Kevin Gangloff and his band of merry volunteers. This year, they are right back at it, with a calendar of fun events for the week, geared to youth, their families and supporters, and a proclamation by the City of Orillia, naming May 1 to 7 National Youth Week in Orillia.

“Honestly, like most opportunities, it just feels good to be able to bring youth together and celebrate, as it has been two years since we recognized Orillia National Youth Week,” said Gangloff. “While the week is still scaled back, there are still opportunities to showcase and celebrate youth and youth opportunities in our great community.”

The week starts up with pancake and syrupy goodness at Brewery Bay on Sunday, May 1 from 9 to 11 a.m. This event is open to everyone in the community. Youth eat free, and adults by donation. It will be a lovely and special way to reconnect with the youth and the community after such a difficult time.

After pancakes, if you can do more than waddle, there will be roller skating at ODAS Park. Again, free for youth. The rest of the week features so many different fun activities for youth and their supporters, both at the Orillia Youth Centre and in the community.

Monday night is Open Mic night at the Orillia Youth Centre, 9 Front St. South. Come and hear what these talented youth have been working on, musically. Tuesday, Otter Art Club is coming to the youth centre to work on some art, again, free to youth, so bring yours along. Wednesday is movie night at Cineplex. Thursday after school, a field trip to do some ax throwing.

And, a very special opportunity, Thursday May 5 from 3 to 8 p.m., and Saturday May 7 from noon to 4 p.m., Glitz It Up! Free formal clothing for youth in grades 8 and up, for their graduation, prom, or other special event. There is no appointment needed, and each youth shopper can bring one guest to help them shop, at the Orillia Youth Centre. This is a wonderful initiative and something that every parent and youth can benefit from, so please, come on out and enjoy the shopping.

Friday there is big screen video gaming on the big screen at the Orillia Community Church, Saturday a field trip to Mariposa Gymnastics, and Sunday an outing to Camp Couchiching.

Friday night, there is a big concert at the Orillia Youth Centre, with headliner Crabrat, and lots of other guest musicians, including Lil Durpy and some surprise special guests. The show gets underway at 7 p.m. and admission is $10 for adults, youth free, and donations gratefully accepted for the Nelson Bell and Jake Beers bursaries. This will be a special show and well worth the price of admission, for so many reasons.

For all updated times and events, follow the Orillia Youth Centre on social media. Please come out and celebrate and support the youth in our community. They are our future.

This must be the focus on youth column, as the next event to highlight is the Orillia Secondary School Spring concert on Tuesday, May 5 at 7 p.m. at the school. The teachers at OSS have done a great job keeping the music playing during the pandemic, but boy it must feel good to be back in person, without all that stressful tech. Admission is by donation, come and enjoy the talent of our local high school students.

Also this week, Mariposa Arts Theatre’s Steel Magnolias finishes its run at the Orillia Opera House, tickets still available here. On May 3, also at the Opera House, Washboard Union will finally play its postponed show; tickets also through the Orillia Opera House box office, 705-326-8011.

The Orillia Concert Association has its last concert of the 2021-22 season, Sunday, May 1 at 2:30 p.m., it’s the Toronto All Star Big Band. This vibrant young band will have your toes tapping to the big band music of the 30’s, 40’s and 50‘s, the golden age of big bands. If you don’t have a subscription, individual tickets are available for $40 through the Orillia Opera House box office, at You are encouraged to wear a mask.

Finally, last but not least, Creative Nomad Studio's Spring Artisan Market is this Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Many many artisans from our area and beyond, working in all media. Beautiful items for yourself or your loved ones. Free admission. Please come out and buy something lovely, it has been a long haul for our creatives. Creative Nomad is located at 23 Mississaga St. W. in downtown Orillia, across from the library.

Have a great week.

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