Our Experience with The Net, during COVID 19

By: Lauren Pringle

It is probably safe to say that 2020 and 2021 have been some of the most confusing, and difficult years for the general population, but especially for teenagers. We have missed so many pivotal moments in our lives, and many teens feel more frustrated, and irritable than usual (understandably so). 

However, despite the hardships, many young adults have found coping mechanisms, and ways of dealing with the isolation. For me, and many others in Hamilton, The Net has been one of these things.

The Net, housed under Ancaster Community Services, has allowed so many teens to connect with others. Whether it is through being one of the core members, or just once and a while joining a trivia night, or a coffee house, The Net has reached hundreds of youths, and made them feel like they are a part of something, during such a difficult time.

In our weekly youth meetings, we have always talked about real issues, and real ways to connect with others. We develop skills such as empathy, and selflessness, all while feeling like we are all just friends hanging out. Through the guidance of both our coordinators we have been able to have such wonderful opportunities such as goat yoga, apple picking, and monthly coffee houses. Zoom has also been such a huge resource, that allows us to get together as often as we would like, with no concerns about spreading sickness. We have found so many ways to adapt to restrictions so that we can still do such fun things!

Many of the youth have had incredible things to say about their experiences with The Net during Covid as well.

“The Net has provided me with the opportunity to continue to foster my engagement in the Ancaster community. I am grateful for the unique online experiences I have had thus far and look forward to developing this impact”.

“Being part of The Net during Covid has created many obstacles with connecting youth, but we have found and created incredible activities, and ways to engage local youth, which has brought me so much joy! I am so excited for what is to come with this team”.

“During Covid, we have all felt alone, and isolated at one point or another. But The Net really made me feel important to the community, even during tough times. I am so proud at how much our platform has grown even during the months where only virtual events could be held”.

I think that I can speak for all the youth affected by The Net, when I say that it really has been such a blessing in our lives, and something that we can all look forward to seeing grow and blossom. If you are a youth between the ages of 13 and 18 in Hamilton, I would totally recommend reaching out to participate with The Net in the future.