Big Water Society fulfills its mandate of "community wellness and healthy youth activities" in three significant ways:

  • we maintain a contract with a Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association certified therapist who provides free counselling services to anyone in the community
  • followup and support in the community
  • we maintain a welcoming and safe gathering centre for teens and provide supervised youth activities

Mental Health & Wellness Services

Announcement coming soon!

This full-time position is funded via the Northern Health Authority and complies with BC's Northern Health Authority (NHA) requirements regarding service standards and professional certification.

Dr. Ainsworth

In addition to the local full-time counselling services, a psychiatrist visits two or three times during the school year. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Ainsworth making the trip from Vancouver to provide his services to children in Atlin. Dr. Ainsworth has been coming to Atlin since 1994, and also works in private practice and is on staff at BC Children's Hospital. He is a Child Psychiatrist and provides consulting services in Atlin.

For more information on Dr. Ainsworth's visits to Atlin, contact the Big Water Society office. To book appointments with Dr. Ainsworth during his Atlin visits, contact the Atlin Health Centre at 250-651-7677.

BWS Teen Centre
Teen Centre Garden

Youth Services

Big Water Society was very pleased to receive the Solicitor General Service Club Award in October 2008, recognizing the success of our services and programs. Big Water Society’s mandate includes “healthy youth activities”. With no designated Teen activity site outside of school, this was difficult to fulfill. In 1998, BWS began mobilizing resources to remedy this situation. The resulting Atlin Teen Centre opened in 2003. The 30X50 foot building includes an office, washrooms, utility room, the open Hall and storage for activity-related materials and supplies.

BWS Teen Centre
Teen Centre raised garden bed:
peas, poratoes, parsley, flowers - Summer 2010

We are very proud of our Teen Centre Activities Program, which operated on a volunteer basis until Fall 2005. "Teens" include youth 10-17, with the majority of activities geared to age/friendship groupings of 10-13 and 14-17. Although the BWS administers the building and the Program, it was only in 2005 that we were able to implement a year-round youth program. In July 2010, we added two raised garden beds thanks to a BC Hydro corporate donation. The teens were excited about snacking on fresh-picked raspberries, carrots, spinach, and sugar snap peas, and everyone enjoyed seeing the colourful flowers growing in among the vegetables. Passersby gave our garden glowing comments throughout the season, assuring us that the added greenery is a benefit for community visitors and residents.

Vancouver Foundation, Mounted Police Foundation, BC Hydro, and BC Gaming Commission have generously contributed funding that has supported our Teen Activities Program during the last several years. Our Activities Program Coordinators share responsibilities for indoor, outdoor, winter and summer activities and excursions. The contact number at the Teen Centre office is 250-651-2460.

vancouver foundation

To create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, many items of furniture, along with games and puzzles, were donated by the community. There are cozy couches, fragrant potted plants, a full-size stove, fridge and microwave plus stove-top and sink unit.  We have a sitting and entertainment area plus tables and chairs set up with ongoing board games and a reference library area.  There are tables for Ping-Pong or Pool and built-in spotlights for events and dances.  Whether a Teen is looking for quiet personal time, challenging games, or the occasional Movie Night, the Atlin Teen Centre has space to offer.

Skill-building is an important part of our program activities.    Indoor activities of sewing, cooking and artwork have enticed teens to make their own pillowcases, Gingerbread houses, and mosaic artwork.

We are also proud of the outdoor activities we have been able to offer.  Our teens have visited the local range several times to learn basic archery under the guidance of a local parent.  Our cross country ski sets are used for the school Jackrabbit program and are available for lunch-time exercise.  Our two fully equipped canoes have been used for picnic trips to Como Lake and for Culture Camp practice on Atlin Lake.  We like hearing that young adults who no longer live in Atlin are still talking about the 2006 day-trip up onto Llewellyn Glacier.

Teen Centre Fundraiser
Teen Centre Fundraiser

In 2012 our teens planned their own dances with themes, food and music – always a fun time for everyone! This year, they had their own beautifully decorated Valentine’s dance, with smiling support from our encouraging supervisors. We also had enthusiastic participation in Teen Centre activities over Spring Break 2013 – Pool tournament, special movie night, and as always, snacks for all – everything provided courtesy of the Big Water Society and the amazing Teen Centre Supervisors.

Over recent years, the Teen Centre has hosted other community groups and events along with providing the Teen Activity Program. Atlin Theatre Group Society has held musical evenings and rehearsals, Canadian Rangers have had meetings and presentations, “Literacy Now!” held several delicious and educational Teas at the Teen Centre, and we have provided a venue for the community to express their opinions and concerns on about our roads, Land Use Planning, and Climate Change Adaptation planning. The Sewing Group continues to use our open and friendly space for interested locals to meet and bring their own projects in, and to learn neat new sewing techniques. This amazing group of dedicated volunteers, thanks to Dorothy Ansley’s energy and expertise, created more than 60 colourful dresses and shorts to send to African Orphans! The display of finished clothing inspired a special Sewing Day to give teens the opportunity to learn new skills while creating outfits for African orphans of their own age. It is very satisfying that our Teen Centre is used in such diverse and positive ways.

Our Teen Centre is open to all youth of age 11-17 free of charge, whether they are living in Atlin or passing through on a visit.

The Teen Centre hall is available as a rental venue for community events as well as youth activities. Rate: $20 per hour. Minimum-$20. The revenue from hall rentals is used to pay for heating, water and septic services, cleaning and maintenance. The barrier-free access ramp has been a welcome addition and we appreciate the care Bob's Contracting took to work around our Teen Program schedule. We are very pleased to offer a space that is as convenient as possible for community meetings and events.

We were pleased to support the 2005-2009 Recycling Program at the Teen Centre venue. Note that plastics and cans are now being collected for recycling at the Atlin Landfill site.  Check the posted Landfill hours before heading out to drop items off.

Big Water Society also assists in promoting, funding and presenting an annual award for civic leadership, the Brett Milos Memorial Award. This award includes a modest bursary and a plaque with the names of all recipients which is displayed at the Teen Centre. The Memorial Award celebrates the life of Brett Milos, who died tragically at age 19. He was a good friend, a strong leader and model for other youth.  This award focuses on acknowledging and rewarding youth leadership and community spirit. Beginning in 2002, a bursary has been presented to a young person selected from the nominees, and the name of the recipient is added to the plaque on display at the Atlin Teen Centre. A panel of volunteer judges is chosen from the Atlin community to select the year’s recipient. In some years, there were many exceptional nominees and choosing only one youth leader did not seem fair. This is why two outstanding Atlin youth received this award in 2004 and 2005.

  • 2002 recipient: Cherish Clarke
  • 2003 recipient: Manuel Sidler
  • 2004 recipients: Kirsten Timpany and Jordan Johnsen
  • 2005 recipients: Samantha Smith and Clayton Carlick
  • 2006 recipient: Michelle Williams
  • 2008 recipient: Aimee Schmidt
  • 2009 recipient: Aileena Rueckenbach
  • 2010 recipient: Adrianna Anttila
  • 2014 recipient: Liam MacInnis

The 10th award for one of our exceptional Atlin teens was announced in July 2010. As always, we greatly appreciate the positive support for local youth that Mrs. Milos and the trustees provide through this award.

If you have an Atlin Teen in mind for this award, send a request for a nomination form to our email address or call before dropping by the office MWTh afternoons.

Glacier trip, June 2006Glacier trip, June 2006Glacier trip, June 2006
Glacier trip, June 2006. Photos by Eugene Hoyano