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Community Initiatives & Settlement Services

Strumming Forward




Strumming Forward kicked off in 2015 when a group of young adults across Grey-Bruce were offered the opportunity to learn how to play guitar during FREE lessons taught by local volunteers. A grant from the Community Foundation Grey Bruce helped make this possible, allowing the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce - Youth in Transition Worker (YITW) program to purchase guitars for youth to learn on and continue to program to this day.

Strumming Forward was started after youth involved in the YITW program expressed great interest in learning guitar but did not have the resources to pay for lessons. The Youth Outreach Worker saw Strumming Forward as a way for young adults to learn a new skill, express creativity through music and build self-confidence while demonstrating accountability and responsibility.

Call  519-371-9230 or email to find out how you can get involved with Strumming Forward.


Group 2

On Tuesday December 15 the second Strumming Forward group wrapped up with a live performance at the YMCA Health, Fitness & Aquatics Facility. The group was led by volunteer guitar instructor Bob Robinson from the local band “Sons of Perry” and got together one hour per week to learn and practice guitar.

Participants Natasha and Devin got involved in the group after a school announcement went home to parents informing them of free guitar lessons offered by the YMCA. Both participants’ mothers encouraged them to sign up and give it a try; guitars were provided and lessons were free.

When speaking with Natasha and Devin they described their experience in the group as fun, entertaining and helpful. While watching them practice before their live performance you could see that this group jived well together and enjoyed each other’s company.

            “It’s been fun playing as a group and knowing that everyone has your back and is there to encourage you.”

“No one is here to outdo someone else – we’re just here to have fun”

“This group has been a lot of fun. Although they are here to learn it’s not a class it’s a jam session. People really started to open up and put the work in which made it easy to jam together.”

Through the encouragement of others in the group Devin worked up the courage to begin singing and is glad that he did as this made the experience even better and helped build his confidence. With Bob’s help Natasha and Devin wrote 2 songs (lyrics and music) which they each sing in. We were able to capture a few snippets of each song that really show off the talent and confidence these two have built during their short experience with Strumming Forward.

A new group will be starting in January and we’re happy to announce that Bob has happily agreed to continue his volunteer position as guitar instructor. Youth interested in joining the group can call Tabitha at 519-371-9230 for details.

Videos and pictures can be found on our Facebook page




Group 1

Strumming Forward has been fortunate to have Jacynthe (Jazzy) Lortie lead the first group and Bob Robinson of the well known local band Sons of Perry lead the second group. Participants have enjoyed this opportunity and have learned skills they didn't think were possible.

"I liked that Jazzy called out the notes, I struggled to follow along, so knowing what note to play next is cool."

"The instructor was patient, kind and approachable. The group was small - it was comfortable. The skill-level of the group was pretty equal so it was not intimidating."

"This was an enriching program. I'm glad I did it and hope it continues."

"I enjoyed learning guitar in a friendly, welcoming, pressure free environment. I appreciated learning the basics that will help me learn to play other things."