Beaver Valley – Youth Forum aiming to help solve service gap

Village of Fruitvale is hosting a Youth Forum this Friday to discern what issues are facing youth in the Beaver Valley.

Bring out your youth.

Literally, as the Village of Fruitvale is hosting a Youth Forum this Friday to discern what issues are facing youth in the Beaver Valley — and they need to hear it straight from the young people.

And if they do speak, the community can collect on a Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) Community-Directed Youth Fund (CDYF) grant worth $100,000, fulfilling the caveat of significant youth input, and thus be able to put the money towards a project for youth.

On Friday at the Fruitvale Memorial Hall (4-8 p.m.), people are being asked to come out and give their view on how the money should be spent.

And likely those views will reflect issues that have been plaguing youth in the village for several years, said Columbia Youth Community Development Centre coordinator Morgan-River Jones.

Fruitvale, Area A and Montrose’s needs differ from Trail, even though the two regions are close together, said Jones.

“A lot of times youth from the Beaver Valley have trouble accessing services because public transportation isn’t so (manageable),” she said. “They feel there needs to be more programming, or enhanced programming, in the community but that has to come from the youth themselves.”

Nor is there a centre to house youth programming in Fruitvale.

CBT is hosting the forum to help identify the kinds of youth-based projects people want to establish for the Beaver Valley, with the setting of priorities to accomplish the projects arising in the following months.

“I know that Fruitvale really wants to see, whatever comes of this, become sustainable and benefit the community over the long term,” said Jones.

The degree of enthusiasm in the valley for youth-related projects is enviable, said Jones, and it was one of the reasons why the CBT gave them the conditional grant.

The only way a community like the Beaver Valley could nail down the CBT funding was if they demonstrated they could work collectively, collaboratively and really come together as a whole to address the variety of needs and issues that were going on in the community.

Pre-teens and teenagers aged 11-19 are invited and encouraged to attend the forum — it needs at least 25 per cent youth participation to make it to the next level on the road to obtaining the funding.

Also appearing at the Youth Forum will be representatives of Freedom Quest, a regional youth service looking to situate itself in the Beaver Valley to provide a range of mental health and addiction services.

And dinner will be provided, with more than $500 in prizes given away to the youth members in attendance.

For more information, call the Village of Fruitvale office at 367-7551, the Village of Montrose office at 367-7234 or the YCDC in Trail at 364-3322.