SMYRC’s big 10

This year marks a long decade since my good friend Trevor Sangrey helped write a grant to start the Sexual Minority Youth Recreation Center (SMYRC). Happy Birthday! Has it really been that long?

SMYRC Prom ’07

There have been events to celebrate already as well as happy remembrances such as Just Out’s recent retrospective. This past Saturday we attended one of these performance parties. It was filled to capacity with current and former youth, staff, volunteers, and community members. And aside from making us feel incredibly old, it also awed us to see what some of our high school projects had become.

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had access to the kinds of queer youth groups I did as a teen. I was part of an artistic group that put together a zine of art and writing by, for and about us. We met in a tiny room in the office building downtown that housed Phoenix Rising. I also helped found Triple Point, the first queer youth group in Vancouver, Washington, and hired their first 3 facilitators.

That said, SMYRC far surpasses anything I had access to. It’s basically the tightest teenage crash pad ever. They have air hockey, a barber station, overstuffed couches and magazines galore and a fully stocked kitchen. They even have a stage and a killer lighting system.

And the youth take full advantage of the space. Hundreds of kids flow in and out of the space with a sizeable group of regulars that can be found there from opening to closing four nights a week. These are four nights that they have access to supportive adults and peers rather than drug-filled parks and other risky outside situations.

With all the worries about Cascadia’s funding (they are the registered non-profit that technically employs SMYRC staff) the center is also in jeopardy. But the party is not yet over, nor is the opportunity to contribute. This Saturday is a more grown-up version of last Saturday, an evening of food, wine and music at the Gerding Theater at 6 p.m.

General admission is $50 with a special $75 VIP admission. There will also be a silent auction to continue the fundraising.

If you miss this event you can donate online. And for those of you without the cash but with the will to help queer youth, volunteers are also always in demand.

1 comment to SMYRC’s big 10

  • jimarc

    SMYRC is one of this community’s greatest gems. Anyone who can attend the 10 year celebration will be glad they did. Others can donate a little or a lot using the link in the article above. GO SMYRC!!!