Spending on youth councils benefits everyone, says Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada National Youth Council
When more than 16,000 young Canadians applied to become members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, they hoped to stand up for their generation and have their say on the important issues facing young people across Canada.
They probably hadn’t planned on being a talking point for the opposition. A recent Maclean’s The article highlights the criticism of several opposition members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and argues that public funds are (mis) used to prepare young liberals.
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As members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada National Youth Council, we understand the need for this review, but believe the article does not address the real value of youth counseling: skills and experience. life skills that young people acquire by learning and working with their peers. And beyond the fact that these skills are beneficial for young people directly involved in counseling, they also have a positive ripple effect that reaches communities, organizations, families and other young people.
The message is simple: Spending on youth counseling benefits everyone.
The BGCC National Youth Council is made up of 11 young people from across the country who serve as ambassadors and role models and ensure the contribution of young people to the organization’s national initiatives and activities. We also have the possibility of organizing a youth conference every two years.
Over the past year, we’ve been planning Get Loud 2017, this year’s national youth forum. This week, 140 Boys and Girls Club members from across Canada will join us at the University of Ottawa to learn, collaborate and make their voices heard.
When we have attended previous youth forums, we have been inspired by other young Canadians. We wanted to be more involved in the kind of work they were doing to shape our future. We chose the theme “Get Loud” because we wanted to explore the importance of the voice of young people in Canada, educate on social issues and share how young people can promote change in our communities and the world.
We designed and delivered the entire conference. We picked the theme, selected the keynote speakers, and held skills-building workshops that cover a range of topics including communications, coding, entrepreneurship, and political engagement. As organizers, we learned about communication, teamwork, and government relations and gained valuable leadership skills in the process.
Everything we have learned over the past year will be of great use to us as we enter the world as young adults. Better yet, spending this week with 140 smart and curious young people, we will expand our networks and discuss the various issues facing young people in our country today. We will develop new ideas that we can take back to our communities and forge new connections that will help us move forward.
The work we have done to plan this event, which is organized by young people and for young people, gives us confidence in our opinions and ideas, and it should assure all Canadians that when young people come together with a common goal , great things can happen. We look forward to hearing more about the work of the Premier’s Youth Council, and we look forward to hearing the voices of young people at all levels of government.
This week, we will invite young people to get involved in their communities, to stand up for themselves and to work together to achieve change. We are living proof that investing in youth counseling benefits all Canadians.
Rachel, Filmon, Victor, Benita, Brittany, Jarrod, Lauren, Shane, Kyle, Nick and Shanel are members of the National Youth Council of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.