The Rainbow Klub youth group began after Koach Katrina attended Rainbow Camp (a one week camp for LGBTQ and Allied youth) as a fitness facilitator. Seeing the impact the councilors had on the campers and how upset everyone was to leave, inspired her to open up a safe space so local campers in Sault Ste. Marie, ON could still see each other throughout the year.
The first “Rainbow Klub” was held in Katrina’s Community Centre called The KLUB on September 7th, 2018, and had eight participants. From there the group grew to provide free programming for anywhere from 12 – 40+ youth at each event. Each social gathering differs but often they have guest speakers and mentors who discuss Queer*and Transgender* topics, sexual education, gender orientation, healthy relationships, substance awareness, mental health, etc. Special events with karaoke, theatre workshops, drag, and talent shows, paint nights, movie nights, and holiday dinners are among the favoured activities of this group.
If one doesn’t want to participate or socialize, they are not forced too, and they simply use the space for a hub to do homework or their hobbies. The KLUB is home to a variety of free materials such as craft/painting supplies, nail polish/face masks, beads, board games, video games, Queer literature, karaoke, a dress-up trunk, and outdoor toys – for all youth to utilize when they’d like. In addition, The KLUB has couches and a dining room table that allows Rainbow Klub to eat, hang out, and attend the center comfortably. The KLUB mimics a “home” atmosphere as many of the youth come from difficult home lives, lower-income households, and sometimes abuse and neglect. With positive affirmations and bright colours everywhere, The KLUB is a safe space they know they will receive support, friendship, entertainment, and a hot meal.