The City of Grande Prairie Youth Council is working on launching a new brand and a structure for the sustainability of their future. The group is made up of youth from ages 13 to 24 from around the city and all walks of life.
Youth Services Supervisor with Community Social Development Cara Jones says it is just like a mini city council. They come up with ideas and present recommendations to the city of Grande Prairie.
“I think that one of the biggest things that they say to me is that it is the one place that they really feel heard. They see the outcome of their opinions and decisions.”
None of the members are voted in or nominated as of right now as they have an open doors policy. Jones says any youth interested in leadership and development is welcome in the group. Right now, they have about 16 members.
“Recently, they have been flagged by the Minister of Education as one of the most community engaged youth councils from across the province. It is very exciting. We had the Minister’s assistant come and study the council to find out what made them so engaged and what made them show up on a Wednesday night.”
Jones says they have been working hard on bringing issues to the city council that they stand by. They felt that youth voices weren’t being heard when it came to gender guidelines.
“They came forward and said they weren’t happy with Bill 10. Bill 10 says if a child wanted to have a gay-straight alliance club in their school, the school could actually turn them away. They found that this really didn’t line up with their generation’s beliefs and morals.”
The group asked council to write a letter in support of their beliefs and ask for the bill to be amended. As a result of their findings, a documentary created by the Youth Council called Rednecks to Rainbows will be premiering this May. It will feature interviews with the mayor, ministers and others from around the province. The event will also coincide with the launch of their new branding in the community.
The Youth Council was created in 2010.