Bridging the gap between Jesus and youth.
The Ark Christian Youth Centre is a group of Christians from various church traditions, called of God to minister to the youth of Dawson Creeek and area with the life changing message of Jesus Christ.
This mission is accomplished by every volunteer staff member building personal relationships with young people, sharing the good news in various forms, and ultimately encouraging them to integrate with a local Bible-believing church.
After suffering a life-threatening heart attack in 1983, John VanSpronsen, required open-heart surgery. During his rehabilitation, he found lots of time to think and pray. It was during that time that God placed the youth of Dawson Creek on John’s heart.
A few years later, John approached a handful of young adults, who had grown up in the Dawson Creek area, with his vision for a Christian youth centre. They began meeting regularly to pray for God’s leading. In time, the handful grew to an interdenominational group of 35, many of whom expressed a desire to reach out to the youth of Dawson Creek with the love of Christ. It was through these meetings that the Dawson Creek Youth Centre Society was formed.
As was the case in many northern communities where winters are long and summers are short, kids often got into trouble because of a lack of things to do. The society felt that in order to be effective it would have to create an environment where kids would feel comfortable and relationships with Christian youth workers would be fostered. It became apparent that there was a need for an indoor facility where kids could come and have a great time. Hence, The Ark Christian Youth Centre was born.
A 10,000 sq.ft. metal warehouse, that had been used as a honey plant, was purchased. It required extensive renovations to make it useable as a youth centre. The physical work began as the building was insulated and washrooms, a concession booth, offices, and a lobby were added. A double gymnasium was constructed for a variety of sports and activities. The facility was completed in late September 1989, and the official opening ceremony was held on October 7 of the same year.
The Dawson Creek Youth Centre Society, which oversees The Ark, is governed by a board made up of 6 members. This board is entrusted to uphold the policies and integrity of the Ark as a non-profit Christian organization. It is the Aim of the board to ensure that The Ark remains a safe and welcoming place for people to play sports and fellowship together.
- Operates under The Dawson Creek Youth Centre Society & is a non-profit organization
- The Ark began operation in 1989
- Our mandate is to create an exciting environment and to provide a positive, affordable alternative where all kids are valued and can participate.
- Programs are designed for young people ages six and eighteen years
- Currently, an average of 200 kids come to The Ark from the community on any given week September through April. Our summer programs are bringing in 20 – 40 youth and young people.
- Presently we offer ball-hockey programs, skateboarding, BMX biking, 3 on 3 basketball tournaments (summer), Friday Drop-in w/ PS2 & Wii video game systems, billiards, etc.
- The Ark has over 30 volunteer coaches, referees, youth workers, concession staff, and board members.
- Volunteers put in over 200 hours per month during the Fall/Winter programs.
- Paid staff include a part-time administrator, a part-time janitor, and a part-time director.
- The Ark’s financial support:
- 25% of the revenue comes from leagues, drop-in and concession revenues
- 60% comes from private donations from over 100 individuals as well as businesses and corporations
- the remaining portion comes from fundraising activities, service clubs, churches and associations
- Each year The Ark hosts a fundraising banquet. Each banquet hosts a special guest speaker featured from Sports figures to youth workers. The purpose of the banquet is to inform our supporters of what’s going on at The Ark as well as to offer our thanks and raise funds.
- The Ark has received national attention in which people from across the country are requesting information on how to start an Ark in their community.