House Youth Centre calling all alumni for reunion BBQ



By Jolene Perron


“Tracking down 40+ years of people is a very tricky and overwhelming task. Especially since all of the contact information we have for these alumni are the contact information they listed as teenagers.”

House Youth Centre activities coordinator Rebecca Vander Vaart explained since they only have two full-time staff members, the idea for the get-together has taken well over a decade and it’s often been something that’s been put on the back burner but they have finally just decided to go for it. By contacting a few alumni from the 70s and 80s that live in the area, they were able to start a bit of a domino effect and word of mouth has helped them to reach more.

“A lot of our program revolves around the idea of history, tradition and community,” said Vander Vaart. “I think it’s important that our current students get to see that they’re a part of something bigger than themselves, they’re part of a ‘family’ that expands across decades.”

It is also equally important, she said, for the alumni to know The House is still around and doing mentoring youth in the exact same fashion they did when they were teenagers. While many things have changed since The House was founded in 1971, the fundamental needs of the youth have not.


The very first Family Reunion BBQ is being hosted at The House September 23 for anyone who was involved in The House during the 70s. Vander Vaart said they are putting together a bunch of fun ways to show off some memories from the 70s, and a portion of the evening will even be dedicated to sitting down together for a traditional House meeting.

“This reunion is the first, but not the last,” said Vander Vaart. “In September 2018 our reunion will be for the alumni from the 80s, in September of 2019 it will be for the 90s alumni, September 2020 for those involved from 2000 t0 2010, and in 2021 everyone will be invited for a massive reunion to celebrate out 50th anniversary.”

Coinciding with these reunions, a couple of The House’s volunteers are kick starting a “senior group” this fall, which will be open to anyone who has ever been involved in The House, may they have graduated in 1971 or 2016. Vader Vaart explained the group will be meeting on the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. for about three or four hours.

“These nights will host a traditional House meeting for anyone looking to reconnect,” said Vander Vaart. “It’s basically an adult version of our youth programs. Our youth program is based on social and emotional health, identity development, and community engagement. The need for thought provoking conversation on these things doesn’t stop when we hit 18.”
Vander Vaart said the goal for both of these initiatives is to reach The House alumni and let them know The House is still here, and everyone is still welcome.

Anyone who is interested in gathering more information about the reunions or the senior group can call The House at 519-736-6811, or e-mail
“At The House, we like to call ourselves a family,” said Vander Vaart. “That family isn’t just your grade level group. It’s 40+ years worth of people who have had their life changed for the better in this building.”

Amherstburg Stars Alumni Camp later this month


By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Stars Alumni hockey camp returns later this month with the aim of having local players sharpen their skills in time for the 2017-18 season.

The camp will be at the Libro Centre Aug. 14-18 and is geared for male and female players ages 5-17. It will feature three hours of on ice training per day and another 90 minutes of off ice training per day.

“The camp will feature power skating and skill enhancement sessions, followed by competitive three-on-three situations and small area games. all looking to improve skating, stick handling, puck control, endurance, and offensive and defensive situations,” said Kyle Burns.


Burns and Corey Beaulieu will join goalie coach Brian Spearing and camp organizer Glen Holden as instructors during the week-long camp.

“Right now we have approximately 45 players registered, with room for 60 players,” said Burns.

To register, please contact Glen Holden at 519-965-2049 or by e-mail at

Hours are 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily. The cost is $325 for the five-day camp and participants will receive lunch daily, a jersey and a camp T-shirt.

“This is our fifth year and so far our non-profit group has donated close to $7,000 back to AMHA and its members through donations and post secondary school bursaries,” noted Holden. “We’re also hoping Michael DiPietro will be able to make an appearance at our camp like in previous years.”