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Thursday, September 28, 2023
Kids enjoy first movie night at NOTL Youth Campus
Kids and parents gather in front of the projection screen for the showing of “Hotel Transylvania 2” during the Youth Campus movie night on Saturday. Julia Sacco

Halloween weekend was the perfect time for the Niagara-on-the-Lake Youth Campus to host its first unofficial gathering for kids to chill out and wind down.

On Saturday, kids and parents enjoyed a showing of “Hotel Transylvania 2” and “Hocus Pocus 2” along with pizza, popcorn, drinks and candy, all for only $10 for a group of five.

Caroline Polgrabia, the “unofficial chair of the planning committee” and the brains behind the Youth Campus, was happy with the reaction of parents and children as about 40 to 45 kids stopped by. 

“This movie night is one of the things the kids asked for,” said Polgrabia.

“We definitely want to do more events like this, social events for the kids, but we think the focus will be drop-in programs after school.”

Brenda Ferguson, who helped hand out pizza alongside Wendy (Ms. Wendy) Culp, shared her elation over how well the first social went.

“We’re excited. It’s our first event, kind of a test to see how many people we can get and so far, I’m really impressed. It’s a really good turnout,” said Ferguson. 

With people gathering in the Cornerstone Community Church as the doors opened at 5 p.m., the excitement from parents and children alike was evident.

“It’s a great idea,” said mom Connie Lebrasseur. “Especially not being originally from here, it’s a great way to meet people.”

“I’m here for Hotel Transylvania!” added her son Tyler. 

Mom Adriana Miele, who sat in on a meeting about plans for the Youth Campus, also was proud and excited.

“For my son, he was really looking forward to this. He’s very happy to be here,” said Miele. “Kids really need stuff to do in this community.”

The Youth Campus has yet to officially launch, as it is still in the process of completing vulnerable sector checks and ensuring that all volunteers are “fully vetted.”

“We think we will be able to launch in January,” said Polgrabia. 

In the meantime, NOTLers can look forward to a few other gatherings contemplated by Polgrabia and company, including potential tech nights, dances, helpful courses and even a space dedicated specifically to teens.

“It’s going to be what they want,” she emphasized.

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