SASKATOON -- HOP Youth, a program that works to keep children and youth off the streets and out of gangs, has bought a 57-acre property northwest of Prince Albert to serve as its home base.

The property will provide kids a sense of belonging and ownership, according to organizer Bryan Leblanc.

The non-profit charity provides engagement to youth and children. Many participants are youth considered “at-risk” and come from disadvantaged family situations. Some are looking to develop confidence in social settings.

Kyle Kimbely, a University of Regina College of Social Work practicum student, was at the first activity night on the property on Tuesday. He says HOP provides kids with a safe space to be themselves.

“Sometimes they don’t have the opportunity to just settle down and be a kid. They want to grow too fast so around here, it’s just like a self-confidence and empowerment opportunity.”

Once participants realize “no one is judging them,” they have fun and learn from one another, staff and elders, he said.

The property provides an opportunity for kids to get out in nature. Indigenous land based teachings will be part of the activities offered at the site. The area also has grass space for baseball, football, soccer and an outdoor ice rink in the winter.

Part of the group’s mandate is to engage youth, get them off their devices and make good life choices.

With parental consent, HOP Youth also provides transportation for children and youth from all over the city. It brings them together to provide a variety of activities and sometimes a meal.