Go Green’s partnership with Preston Group started in 2014, when Preston Group made a generous donation towards the construction of our multi-sport cricket field and the purchase of our (at the time innovative) LED sports lights. Those environmentally sustainable LED lights were finally erected in 2017, after another generous Preston Group donation, enabling us to become Canada’s first illuminated cricket field.
The Boom Boom! On Go the Lights! Celebration on May 16, 2017 with international cricket star Shahid Afridi drew hundreds of families to the field from both Thorncliffe Park & Flemingdon Park and across the GTA. Resident families, friends and sponsors were excited to meet Afridi, and attend the ceremony led by provincial MPP and former Premier Kathleen Wynne and federal Ministers of Parliament Yasmin Ratansi and Rob Oliphant. It was followed by a Grand Match between the GGYC Youth All-Star cricket team and the Toronto Police Cricket Club.
Since that time, our field has become a favourite community gathering place and an important weekend and night-time cricket ground hosting local youth teams and various teams from across the City. Meanwhile, our relationship with Preston Group has only strengthened. Over the years, Preston Group has put smiles on hundreds of children’s faces as a major sponsor of our free youth-led programs, held after school and on Saturdays, during the March break and summers at the Go Green Cricket & Sports Field, Valley Park Middle School and Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute.
This year, Preston Group’s donation went straight towards the purchase of supplies for what we called the GGYC Camp in a Box! These were advance materials distributed to campers’ families right before the start of our first time ever GGYC Kids’ Virtual Summer Camp.
Camp in a Box! included age appropriate children’s books, a GGYC monogrammed yoga mat, a t-shirt and beverage cup, various balls, baking equipment and related ingredients, a tonne of arts & crafts items, and a musical recorder and a recorder training book.
Children are excited to attend our virtual camp Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eight groups of children, (three groups of Bunnies aged 7 & 8, three groups of Tigers aged 9 & 10 and two groups of Dragons aged 11-13), are moving among eight different Zoom breakout rooms. Each room is hosted by three local youth coaches for a total staff of 24 plus three youth on our management team.
Together these coaches are teaching Basketball, Arts & Crafts, Social Media & Photography, Music & Dance, Fitness Work Outs, Cricket, Soccer & Hockey skills, Computer Coding and Cooking & Nutrition.
Let’s just say the first few days were challenging as we arranged Zoom links for participants and their families, learned to host and move coaches around from Zoom room to Zoom room, but so far, let’s just say this summer has been an absolute blast! Our campers are also so grateful for Preston Group’s sponsorship of Camp in a Box!
Because of Preston Group’s annual donations since our opening in 2015, we’ve successfully trained more than 150 youth coaches aged 15 to 25 years old who run our programs and directly served at least 2500 children and youth aged seven to 19 years old in our programs.
While this is definitely camp, it is not necessarily like other camps. For one thing, our goal is to sometimes welcome Newcomer children to Canada, assist them as they practice English and learn new skills and support them as they make new friends. At GGYC, we aim to create within our campers the Four C’s of Positive Youth Development – skills competency, self confidence, a strong character, and ability to form caring and stable social connections.
Additionally, our youth coaches seek to inspire two others C’s through their own example: a desire to make community contributions to build a stronger civil society. We could not run camps, nor could we ever have constructed our community cricket field without Preston Group’s support. On behalf of everyone at Go Green Youth Centre, we thank Preston Group for its ongoing loyalty and friendship. Together, we hope we are making a difference!
We have started a waitlist for our virtual camp just in case a few participants leave and make room for others to join us. Camp ends on August 21. Interested participants should please sign up for our waitlist by clicking here.
Co-chair, Go Green Youth Centre