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OutLoud North Bay is on the move

'It is frustrating at my end but at the same time I feel that this is my purpose and I am going to fight through every god-given day to make sure these kids have a space'
20210301 summit renos outloud north bay
Renovations are underway to transform the Summit dance floor into a safe space for gay and transgender teens. Photo courtesy Facebook.

OutLoud North Bay will be moving its community hub from downtown North Bay to the Voyager Inn.  

Seth Compton, the founder of OutLoud North Bay, created the safe space for LGBTQ2S youth in the North Bay area back in the summer.  

"Shortly after our opening we almost tripled in numbers," said Compton. 

"It became big, very quickly and I was not prepared for any of it but I knew that as soon as I partnered up with the Near North District School Board it would open up a lot of doors. 

"I had a lot of teachers and social workers referring their kids to our space just as an outlet because really in the schools all those things have been taken away - all the sports, all the extra-curricular activities that kids used as an outlet, so it's all gone."

The current location, on the corner of Oak and Main Street, has been closed since December due to the Stay-At-Home order. 

Compton says the downtown location was becoming too small and the need to move became imminent when the building was sold by the Richardson brothers. 

"I have been working with the Richardson's who own the building that I am in now," said Compton.  

"They sold that building in September to Dupuis Properties and reached out to see if I could purchase the entire floor and when they asked me a high price and I declined it, they asked me to leave." 

See related: OutLoud North Bay celebrates its grand opening

See related: North Bay's oldest building sold! 'We just want to do our part' say new owners

Compton started a GoFundMe page as he waits for the Canadian Revenue Agency to approve OutLoud North Bay's charity status.  He plans to move fully into the Summit location by the end of March.  

"It is frustrating at my end but at the same time I feel that this is my purpose and I am going to fight through every god-given day to make sure these kids have a space," said Compton.   

"The lease expires at the end of March at the downtown Oak Street location and the Richardson's are going to gut through whatever is happening now and I have given them a layout of what I need. We are going to take pictures off the windows and try to brighten up the space. So cosmetic stuff, that is really what we need and then we will be able to get a smooth transition from the current location once we are able to open back up to the public into the new space without any downtime." 

Compton credits support from the Richardson's, who own the Voyageur Inn, as well as assistance from multiple organizations in the area such as the Indigenous Friendship Centre and The Gathering Place to name a few, who have come through to help support this new youth program.   

"That right there is my most important goal is to not have any more days down because the kids have been struggling so bad," admitted Compton. 

Compton hopes there are better days ahead for OutLoud North Bay when the lockdown ends and they can meet in person again.    

"I do a nightly call with most of the members through a Facebook group just to kind of keep them in the loop and use me as the outlet. They love chatting with me, we do a Snap Chat at 7:30 every night to just touch base and check in how their day is going, make sure they are all going to school, and making sure they are getting the extra support but they cannot afford another day where we are not open," Compton added. 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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