I want my swimming pool.

When I was a young kid. I loved going down to the shore to go swimming. Everyone would be there. As if the hot summer days lasted forever. Playing and swimming in the river were happy times for me. After swimming all afternoon, there’d be a nice bonfire to warm the bones.

They recently built a YMCA at the corner from our production office here in Montreal. It started with steel beams put together like a MECCANO™ set. Anticipation set in, since the time I learned there would also be a swimming pool. I’d pass the building every day while they were working on it. There was an excitment over it throughout the neighbourhood. Everyone couldn’t wait for it to open so they could join up.

In Fort George just when all hoopla started with all the dams, there seemed to be a rush of excitement everywhere. I didn’t grasp what really was going on. I knew we were going to move to the mainland and all. As a kid it was all excitement. In my mind we were moving to a foreign place. I didn’t know where we were going. I watched the workers punch holes in the foundations of the houses, slide the steel beams through and lift. I’d follow them to the shore where they floated the houses across the river to the mainland. During all this so-called excitement, the thing which sticks out in my mind is WE WERE GOING TO GET A POOL!!?!! That was all that mattered, we were going to get a pool. I somehow knew we wouldn’t be able to swim in the river, but we were going to get a pool.

The youth in the neighbourhood around here have their share of problems, in many cases very similar to the youth up North. Even though there were many delays, the countdown to opening day was fast approaching. I signed up. Then it opened. Pool and all. I went in one day to get a schedule for the pool. (They also have a weight room, gyms, running track etc.) There is a place for the youth also. They feature a couple of free pool tables, ping-pong tables, a soccer game and card games. As I left, I looked in to the youth room. There were youth there having a good time—who otherwise would be on the street. The look on their faces said a lot to me. They appreciated what they had and they were having fun.

I’m not saying that a swimming pool ora ping-pong table can compensate fora river destroyed. After seeing the kids in the “Y” and the enthusiasm they showed, I realized how much something like that is so much needed for the youth up North. A pool may not compensate, but it’ll help.