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Youth animation in Le Patro of Fort-Coulonge

17/08/2019: Canada

It was in 1987 that the Marist Brothers responded to the call of the Municipality and the parish of Fort Coulonge to animate the young people of a small community in Outaouais, about 60 km north of Hull-Gatineau and Ottawa. Very soon, the Brothers realized that there was a lack of extracurricular activities for young people in the region and every effort was made to create an open environment for sports and outdoor activities.

From its modest beginnings, the "Patro" has grown over the years into a well-organized structure offering a variety of activities. Among them is the summer camp for children from six to pre-adolescence who are on vacation. And although there are several water activities and fun during all seasons, the busiest period  is especially in summer.

It is coordinated by a team of young instructors and monitors under the supervision of an administrative office completely dedicated to this mission. During the other seasons, this remains open for families (the houses are designed for this purpose) and groups who come to enjoy the activities which are organized here.

Spring Floods

The spring of 2019 has been a very difficult season for many regions of Quebec due to spring floods caused by melting snow and overflowing rivers: the Patro, located on the banks of the Ottawa River, was not spared either ... the current changed its course, flooded the site and water more than a meter high, invaded the facilities and damaged the office and camp equipment. Thanks to the dedication and participation of the local volunteers, those responsible have managed to reorganize the entire site just in time to welcome the young people and allow them to carry out the summer activities without too many inconveniences.

Lay Marists

From the beginning of this work, the brothers were able to count on the valuable support of a group of volunteers. Little by little, the area has been improved, spaces have been equipped for activities and recreation, and individual houses have been built to accommodate families. The brothers have formed a board of directors and have trained - over time - many animators to encourage the youth, so that this work can continue in the future, even when the brothers pass the torch definitively to the laity.

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