"Luigi out of nowhere!"

"Things are not looking good!"

"Boombox! Now way!"

That's just some of the banter you could hear echoing from the Belconnen Youth Centre on Thursday 6th July in the first BYC Mario Bros and Smash Bros electronic gaming competition.

Open to ages 10 to 25 years and with free sessions on the line at iPlay entertainment centre at Westfield Belconnen, the races were highly competitive and the gamesmanship even more so among the 15-20 youths taking part.

There were two categories on offer: experienced gamers and a series for newcomers.

Youth worker and competition organiser Nikki Avila said it was a great turn out and hoped it'll lead to an even bigger annual school holidays event.

"It started with a small idea and when we were contacted by iPlay we realised there's going to be a lot of interest, so I hope next year it's even bigger, bigger prizes, who knows?" she said.

"Catch me if you can, haha!" That declaration was closely followed by, 'No, you catch ME if you can!"

"It's just pure, innocent fun, you might even say it's building resilience through racing, they're behind but they don't give up, they keep going," said Maddy Cater, a youth worker from Northside Community Centre.

The event was part of the youth center's regular school holiday program which this year is enjoying a partnership with Northside.

Ms Cater said the cooperation between community services was perfect for getting out into the communities and growing a reputation for both organisations ability to offer a safe place for Canberra's youth to go, anytime.

"We held an event on Monday at our youth centre in Dickson where we provided catering and activities and now it's great to be here in Belconnen where we've been able to shoulder the load of the cost of food, equipment and everything involved," she said.

"Because we've had events at two venues we might become a familiar, friendly face to someone who might move suburbs and want to keep visiting youth centers," said Ms Cater.

Capital Region Community Services is especially grateful to iPlay at Belconnen who donated the prizes on the day (we're respectfully withholding the names of the young winners on the day however they were both very happy and very gracious).

There was also fresh fruit available for the youngsters thanks to the kind folk at OzHarvest, another of many generous donations we've recieved from the national food rescue charity.

The school holiday activities continue throughout July including First Aid Training, Dungeons and Dragons, Tennis and more- check them out here: https://crcs.com.au/activities/youth-centre-winter-school-holiday-program-2023/

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