It was a rough time in 2005 as the Town of Hanover was facing a serious drug problem with the use of crystal meth. This problem touched everyone in town, including the youth, and to start tackling this crisis, then Mayor Bob White called a public meeting that turned out to be standing room only. It seemed the Mayor wasn’t the only one wanting this problem taken care of.
A Community Committee was formed with members from the public health team, police, education, ministerial association, local newspaper, council representatives, and the Tough Love Support Group. This committee met on a regular basis to educate the townspeople on this drug issue and ways that it could become just a memory.
From there, the Youth Roots committee was formed in 2005 hiring three Youth Coordinators, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Youth Roots spent the first few years educating the public by bringing in speakers to the local schools and evening sessions for parents to discuss drug awareness and prevention. Yearly banquets were held with speakers and a youth panels. While listening to the issues that the youth were bringing to light, the focus moved from crystal meth and other drugs to other youth issues; issues like not feeling valued and respected, the lack of activities, and the lack of transportation in a rural setting among many others.
Great strides were taken between 2009 and 2013 when the committees were recognized by Minister Margarett Best as a Youth Friendly Community under the Silver designation in 2009 and recognized by Minister Chan under the Gold designation of Youth Friendly Communities in 2013.
Youth of Hanover were asking for a space to be, learn, and practice the skills they would need to be successful outside of a school setting. After the Committee and the Council toured the Fuzion Youth Centre in Ingersoll, the idea of creating a similar centre in Hanover was born. The funding became available through the successful Rural Economic Development Fund Grant, and a substantial amount from the province of Ontario to be matched by The Town of Hanover. In May of 2015 Launch Pad Youth Activity & Technology Centre was to be located at 612 10th Street Hanover.
Today, Launch Pad is a unique youth skills development centre in the rural community of Hanover, ON. We have an excellent 4800 sq ft facility that includes a commercial kitchen, welding space, trades areas, technology lab, teaching/conferencing areas, and a woodworking shop set to open in 2019. Our staff and network of volunteers have a broad range of skills that are used daily to enhance the skill development of our members.
It must be made clear Launch Pad is not just a place for youth in Hanover to attend but all youth from Grey and Bruce Counties. In 2018, a pilot project focusing in transportation begin with the support of Saugeen Economic Development Corporation to bring youth from neighbouring communities to Launch Pad and back home again!