by Susan Healy, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
Helping the youth in the region is not just about organized activities! Building a supportive community, and collecting the thoughts of local youth, is the first step for a group of cross-sector leaders in our community. They have a vision of unlocking the potential and improving outcomes for our youth in Leeds & Grenville. Every Kid in our Communities, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, United Way Leeds & Grenville, YMCA of Eastern Ontario, local school and youth groups, have come together to work on this important initiative.
On September 26 and 27, key community influencers will come together for the first in a series of Community Conversations initiated from the report, Those Kids – Are Our Kids, released April 29 by the Friends Supporting Youth. The emphasis of that report was on leveraging the partnership of the agencies in the community that have access to youth and the responsibility for community development around youth programming.
“The goal is to connect the youth and the leaders of Leeds & Grenville to determine their needs around Leisure and Recreation;” says David K. Thomas, one of the Members of the Friends Supporting Youth in Leeds and Grenville.
“Listening to and understanding the youth perspective on leisure will help the community develop programs and shape public policy;” added Marg Fancy, Coordinator for the Every Kid in Our Community Coalition.
The workshop will include the following:
DAY 1: Jackie Oncescu, PhD, Assistant Professor from the University of New Brunswick, will speak about The Role of Leisure in Community Wellbeing. Attendees can then participate in discussions on Perspectives of Youth & Community & Mapping Youth Leisure Systems in Community.
Day 2: Facilitated Discussions will include: Youth Leisure and Their Connection to Community – Diving Deeper – What do we do that’s right? What is missing? What needs to be asked? Youth will be attending from the local Leeds & Grenville area and participating in a Photo Voice exercise to help share their thoughts.
On October 30, the second Community Conversation – Well-Being for All, will continue and collect insights from different cross-sector groups of people to collectively identify a roadmap for change and make a pledge to the positive future of our community.