Music at the Central Counties Youth Center

Music at CCYC is an evolving collaboration between Ridgelines Teaching Artists and the Central Counties Youth Center, our region’s 5-county youth detention center.  We have piloted a range of programming at CCYC, including mini-concerts and workshops in songwriting. Our Small-but-Mighty Poetry Library took up residence at CCYC in the spring of 2021.

As of 2021, programming at CCYC is led by Teaching Artist Jonathan Bojan, who facilitates Youth Circle sessions three times per week throughout the summer and weekly during autumn. Jonathan's approach is informed by many years of community teaching and collaborating. His work at CCYC relies on a number of circle-based improvisational music formats, including the traditional drum circle. Youth Circle programming emphasizes collaboration and self-expression, aiming to bring more relaxation to the CCYC community and to provide a constructive activity through which youth can enjoy each other and their own creative energies. Circle-based formats focus on exchanges of energy between people, so participants have a chance to develop communication skills, the ability to create and express themselves through music and poetry, and a sense of self-efficacy.

Jonathan notes, "I accepted the invitation to teach at CCYC with the understanding that I may be the one who is taught."


Previously, Ridgelines kicked off programming at CCYC in 2019 with Youth Songs, an interactive concert series designed and led by local singer-songwriter Eric Ian Farmer. This program drew our region's at-risk youth, Court-detained young people who have had significant trauma in their lives, into a circle of artistic community, creating new paths for communication and change. In bi-monthly concerts, Youth Songs provided a soulful opportunity for CCYC residents to interact with a model of music-as-self-discovery; to connect with an expert teaching musician; and to share their own stories. By cultivating social connectedness and access to the possibilities of creative agency, Youth Songs aims to strengthen emotional literacy and the diversity of our region's language arts.

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Youth Songs at CCYC is supported in 2020 by a generous grant from the Centre Foundation's Patricia Farrell Music Fund