More than just hanging out after school: Afterschool programs and youths' feelings of inclusion and exclusion
This thesis explores the impacts of afterschool programs on youths’ feelings of inclusion and exclusion in small communities. A case study of the Fusion Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Ingersoll, Ontario was conducted to learn from youth about their experiences growing up, about the challenges they faced and the benefits they gained from participating in Fusion’s programs. This project focused on the youths’ perspectives, and employed various task-centered activities such as visualization and narrative techniques to engage youth and gather data. It also highlighted different tensions between youth and the community and how youth navigate these tensions while growing up. The study found that the space, staff and programs offered by the Fusion Youth Centre do change youths’ feelings of inclusion and exclusion in Ingersoll. However, there remains work to be done to change the systems of exclusions that make youth feel disconnected from their community.