A new program that looks to invest in teen services, based on their needs, has amplified the youth voice in the Basin.
Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has announced its Community Directed Youth Funds program, which aims to support services for youth between 12-19 years old by providing each receiving area with $100,000 over the course of four years.
The Beaver Valley is included in the six pilot communities that will begin the program this winter while Trail/Warfield and Rossland will benefit from the second phase next spring.
“This is something that the village has been working on for two years now in our strategic action plan – to do youth engagement,” said Lila Cresswell, Fruitvale administrator. “We have lots of stuff for young children, we have lots of stuff for sports-orientated groups but we haven’t identified what that 12-19 age group wants and what they think is important.”
Areas awarded funding are now working on recruiting those interested in being part of the process of determining how to spend the money.
The program requires at least 25 per cent youth engagement to ensure decisions are made from a teen perspective.
“I’m hoping that this funding is an opportunity to really tease out the key issues for youth as well as service providers and get creative and maybe explore some stuff that hasn’t been looked at yet,” said Morgan-River Jones, coordinator for Columbia Youth Community Development Centre, which led some Greater Trail communities during the application process.
“The primary complaint that I get from youth is that there’s not really anything to do here unless you play hockey or baseball and my own experience would probably echo that,” she added. “I think that everybody just knows from anecdotal experience that kids who have something they can invest some parts of themselves in, regardless of what it is, just have that sense of belonging.”
The program is intended to provide resources to communities that show the desire and ability to work together to identify and address issues in their youth communities.
“We are very excited to be putting funds in the hands of communities to benefit youth in their specific regions,” said Wayne Lundeberg, CBT director of youth initiatives. “These first communities demonstrated a readiness to come together in a collaborative manner to set priorities.”
In addition to this new program, CBT also funds youth developed projects through the Columbia Basin Youth Grants program and provides a forum for youth in the Columbia Basin to share their art, ideas and experiences with each other through SCRATCH magazine (www.scratchonline.ca).
The next deadline for other interested communities will begin Oct. 31 next year. Guidelines and applications are available at www.cbt.org/youth. For more information, call Lundeberg at 250-304-1625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth interested in sitting at the focus group table can contact Jones at 364-3322 or email her at email@example.com