Saanich is looking for a few good boys and girls who have a passion for their community.
The Saanich Youth Council is now recruiting teens and young adults to sit on the 2013-14 council, where members will make decisions that will have an impact on their community.
“It’s a very self-directed group of young people. They’ll get together at the beginning of the year and decide what their priorities are as a group based on their passions and interests,” said Alana Stewart, Saanich Youth Council co-ordinator. “Then they make a plan for the year and they try to get it done. … It’s always really exciting to see what they come up with, what they’re going to do this year.”
Last year’s Saanich Youth Council sponsored the creation of a community engagement website with Camosun College’s computer systems technology students, and the council undertook a youth participation survey involving Camosun and UVic students.
“One thing that’s really enticing to me is when you want to see change, it’s a lot more formidable when you deal with it directly. It’s really exciting to work on a project the the local community and get it done,” said Oliver Tennant, 21, a member of the youth council.
“We like to be inclusive, we want people from all different backgrounds who have different thoughts and wants. That’s really important to us. That way you get the real wants and desires of the youth of today,” he said of the new recruits they hope to acquire.
The time commitment for being on the Saanich Youth Council isn’t overly onerous, Stewart said. There groups gathers a couple times a month for meeting, plus some time is required to work on the projects, so eight to 10 hours per month is the minimum commitment.
“At the beginning of the year we commit to the group and to each other to just work hard through the year, do some positive work and have fun,” Stewart said. “Municipal politics can be boring for youth, so if we can get away from the traditional ways of engaging with them, I think there’s something to be said for being able to bring youth to the table.”
In addition to the self-directed projects the group undertakes, members of the youth council have the opportunity to sit on Saanich advisory committees, providing a youth perspective on issues and decisions that will go before Saanich council.
“An organization that has a youth voice integrated into its core being is often very relevant. Young people are at a place in their lives where they’re very open to different ideas, they’re engages, they’re interested in the wellbeing of society and their community,” Stewart said.
She said Saanich founded the youth council in 2009 because staff acknowledged the benefits of bringing a youth perspective into municipal issues.
Saanich Youth Council is open to Saanich residents aged 13 to 25. The deadline to apply is Friday, Oct. 4.
For more information see the council Facebook page or to apply to sit on the council, email firstname.lastname@example.org.