Steinbach Youth For Christ is expanding into Blumenort.

Executive Director Rueben Singh says the seed for this idea was planted several years ago. Singh explains a realtor once told him that with all the growth in Blumenort, that community could probably benefit from something similar to Steinbach's Backstage.

"So it's been on my radar for a while," admits Singh.

He notes in many ways the COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down, but it also provided just enough downtime to begin the process of finding a location in Blumenort. Singh says they explored all of their options including finding an existing location or building brand new. However, he says they have determined that none of the buildings that are currently available in Blumenort, meet their needs and so the decision has been made to build it from the ground up.

"We are in the process of securing some land," he says. "After that, it's going to be fundraising. So once we've got the funds raised, then we can start going to town putting bricks and mortar together."

Singh says this is all very exciting and notes the community will have a chance to learn more about what is coming to Blumenort, at an information meeting next week. It will be held Monday (May 30th) at the Blumenort School gym from 7:30 to 9 pm.

According to Singh, the new facility will be a very similar model to Backstage. He notes there is nothing saying it has to be a drop-in centre. However, in speaking with people in the community, Singh says it seems the residents would like something for their youth year-round.

"About fourteen per cent of their population is young people," notes Singh. "They need something to do, they need a place that's safe to connect year-round."

Meanwhile, Singh says Backstage in Steinbach is hopping again, after a slower couple of years due to the pandemic. He notes each night they see between 30 and 40 youth, many of whom they did not see much of during the pandemic.