Free food, games, music, and social time. We're changing the shape of our dances a little bit to encourage a bit more socializing. Bring cards and/or board games if you'd like. We'll have ping-pong, foose ball, and air hockey tables set up.

We will provide free water and popcorn, and pop, chips and chocolate bars for sale.

Rodney Recreation Centre
135 Queen Street
Rodney, Ontario Canada

Friday, April 27 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Welcome to all youth aged 10-18 in Rodney and the surrounding area. Please RSVP to

Facebook Page Facebook Event

Rodney Youth Centre Café - Focus Group Success


he sense of community is strong in Rodney. On April 17, 2018, the topics of West Elgin's youth, community building, and social enterprise drove great discussion and sharing at a Focus Group at the Rodney Rec Centre. This event was organized by the Rodney Youth Centre and facilitated by Andre Vashist and Nick Van Der Velde of Pillar Non-profit Network and Impact Consulting. 20 participants, over a quarter of them being under the age of 20 engaged in the focus group: a structured approach to creative, intentional brainstorming that blended and unified different visions, ideas, and aspirations to address the challenge of better serving the youth in West Elgin.

Andre and Nick facilitated the discussion, drawing out fantastic ideas and discussion points from everyone present. People shared their common interest in growing the community, supporting youth, and seeing the downtown revitalized.

During the focus group, Nick described how this process started with the Calvary United Church reaching out to Impact Consulting to assist in catalyzing a community effort to better support youth, through a collection of potential social enterprise business models. Since, these models have been well researched, which shaped the project's current trajectory: an idea of a community-run café that can provide a safe and welcoming space for youth and other members of our community.

In addition, participants were invited to share feedback and ideas to flesh out the café idea - the result? A full wall in the Rodney Rec Centre filled up with post-it notes capturing people's ideas, suggestions and feedback; suggestions ranged from choices of food and drinks the café could offer, to store hours, potential customer groups and community linkages to the West-Elgin community.

The focus group facilitated discussion around the services that could be offered along with amentities, such as: free Wi-Fi access, types of music to be played in the background, and evenings of planned entertainment, with examples of live music and stand-up comedy.

The aesthetics of the building and space were discussed, and the best ways to make sure that the space is inviting and representative of our community. Many people could picture the space as a community hub of activity, where people could meet, share upcoming events and perhaps even buy local goods produced by local artisans and crafts-people.

The accessibility was an important topic, as well as making sure it was a space welcome to everyone.

Through the evening Greg Simpson acted as barista, serving coffee, tea, espresso, latte, and hot chocolate to all in attendance. There were a few parents picking up their youngsters from the YWCA-run activity night next door who stopped in for a few minutes to add their voices to the conversation as well.

The blue-sky discussions brought many delightful ideas that people had seen and experienced in other communities. Dance clubs, music clubs, and art therapy came up. Arcade games and pool tables were suggested to make sure the youth know the spot caters to them. Stalls to sell antiques or other crafts were suggested also.

Transportation came up in discussions. Many people validated the idea of a drive-through window to serve people who don't have time to sit down for a coffee. Exterior bike racks and plug-ins for electric scooters might encourage people to get out and get healthy in their community while meeting with friends or getting their caffeine fix. The positive impact of the café as another method to draw people into downtown Rodney was mentioned frequently and the benefit to other businesses and the community at large.

As the conversation deepened, people wondered about how to make sure this idea has staying power. Funding sources were considered, as well as the right blend of community partners, service groups, individuals and businesses needed to make this work. There was dialog around mixing hired staff with volunteers to meet the needs of the café and programming provided. Nick and Andre's experience with social enterprise and community involvement aided this discussion, and they shared hope for the future of this project. Community involvement from Calvary United Church, the Rodney Kiwanis and the Municipality of West Elgin have already been instrumental in other Rodney Youth Centre activities, as well as funding from the EDGE Network, a funding organization within the United Church of Canada.

The evening wrapped up with discussion of next steps. Communication with the community and getting more people involved where the strongest suggestions. The more people involved, the better the chances for success. Participants were excited to know that this is more than just a youth venture, it's something to draw the whole community together. They compiled a list of other groups and individuals to collaborate with, and many offered ways they are willing to volunteer in the future.

One thing is for certain, the sense of community is strong in Rodney, and people are excited and committed to nurturing and growing it.

The full report can be viewed here: Focus Group Summary Report

Thank you so much to Andre and Nick for facilitating, Rodney Youth Centre for organizing, and everyone for participating.

Rodney Town-wide Youth Scavenger Hunt

On Saturday May 20, 2017 the Rodney Youth centre hosted its first community event for youth in the form of a scavenger hunt throughout the town of Rodney. The hunt started at the Rodney Library with three teams totalling 12 young people using their smart phones to record the items on their list. The list included talking to someone over 85 years old, finding a motorcycle, a convertible, a Victorian house, the locations of two former banks, an alien, finding a young child to sing Mary Had a Little Lamb, find a politician (oops, none were found), make a video about being in an earthquake, and several other challenges. Everyone agreed that it was a great time for all. After the hunt, the participants gathered at the Recreation centre for pizza, pop, and healthier snacks while the scores were totaled. On hand were five adult supervisors, including Greg Simpson, the organizer of the event.

The board members and friends of the Rodney Youth centre have been searching for a location for a home base for youth to hang out; a place of safety to play video games, do homework, socialize with and make new friends, to get tutoring, or engage in activities that draw them downtown Rodney. While they haven't been successful on this task, the hunt for a location and for funding and donations continues. Greg believes that is absolutely necessary that young people have a place to go in their community, and important enough to be supported by the residents of Rodney.

Hey West Elgin youth! We need YOUR help! The Rodney Youth Centre is looking for passionate and ethusiastic youth to represent the Centre within their school and their community. The position of a Youth Ambassador will require you to represent our Youth Advisory Council and build better relations, to engage and connect with your peers, other youth, and the community. If this is of interest to you, please call or text Greg Simpson at 519 619 7680 or send an email to

"There's nothing to do in Rodney"

We are working hard to change that. From monthly social events at the Rec Centre to regular sports nights to other events to get people outside and active, the Rodney Youth Centre is giving youth things to do. The next step is to track down funding and grant sources to open a Café and Makerspace right in downtown Rodney.


Programs and Services

Hang out

Pull up a comfy chair, share a couch, chat, read or just hang.

Be entertained

Play Pool, Ping pong, Table soccer, cards, board games. There's no need to be bored!

Homework Help

If you need a quiet space to work, or have some questions to ask, we can help.

Free Food!

Home-baked muffins and other goodies, warm and cold drinks. No one goes hungry around here!


Working Group

December 5th from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, the Working Group will meet with consultants from Pillar Nonprofit Network. The role of the Working Group is to bring passion, enthusiasm, expertise and networks to the successful launch of the Rodney Youth Centre. The Working Group will play various roles from business development, financing, impact measurement, marketing and community engagement. We are looking for community members to join this important initiative. If you are interested please call or text Greg Simpson at 519 619 7680, or send an email to

Fall Dances

Free Youth Dances hosted at the Rodney Rec Centre on the last Friday of September, October and November.

Fall Youth Dance
September 29
7:00 to 9:00 pm Ages 10-13
9:00 to 11:00 pm Ages 14-18

Hallowe'en Dance
October 27
7:00 to 9:00 pm Ages 10-13
9:00 to 11:00 pm Ages 14-18

Christmas Dance
November 24
7:00 to 9:00 pm Ages 10-13
9:00 to 11:00 pm Ages 14-18

Local Media

On February 7th 2017, Sean Irvine of CTV was out to Rodney and interviewed Greg Simpson about the Youth Centre's proposal to use the Town Hall building. A few youth at WESS got interviewed too, to get their feedback. You can catch the interview on their website: CTV News London

Local Media

The St. Thomas Times Journal is talking about us! Rodney Youth Centre eyeing downtown storefront instead of Old Town Hall

Youth Council

The organization and running of the Youth Centre will be handled by the Youth Council as much as possible. We are looking for 11 committed young people aged 12-18 to make up this council. Your role will be to connect with your peers and other youth in the area to make sure the centre is living up to their needs. You will meet regularly yourselves, and will select a 2 members to sit on the Board of Directors. Please call or text Greg Simpson at 519 619 7680 if you are interested, or send an email to


Let's Get In Touch!

Would you like to know more about the Rodney Youth Centre? Do you want to volunteer? Do you want to Donate? Call us now!

519 619 7680

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