For small towns to survive, the entrepreneurial spirit and mind of young people in BC will need to be nurtured.
Opportunities to learn skills and access resources are crucial for them to succeed within local economies.
When a firm footing on abilities, character and independence has developed, attention shifts to the notion of escape: escaping the confines of high school, escaping parental guidance, shifting from parental values and ethics and beginning to question a values system that will lead to future pride and prosperity. It is a rite of passage afforded all youth as they walk toward adulthood.
One of the predominant questions facing elected officials, local employers and the community at large is how to keep youth engaged. Part of the solution is creating a culture that provides opportunity, pastimes, quality education and diverse creative culture. Inclusion and participation are key.
The youth shadow council at Brooks Secondary School is a step in the right direction. Involving young people in this way provides them with a meaningful, effective forum to voice their needs and exact meaningful change.
Building infrastructure that will provide for youth while they are in school, and provide opportunities for post-secondary education and job training at home, is foundational. Powell River Youth Resource Centre, Coast Mountain Academy, Terracentric Outdoor Adventures, Young Naturalists Club and Kelly Creek Recreation Program are examples of organizations meeting youth needs in the community.
A recent arts and culture initiative report completed by Powell River Arts and Culture Committee, identifies a rich vein of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that together provides an opportunity for solid, meaningful growth. It also outlines challenges that need to be addressed.
Youth-led associations and community activity organizations such as theatre groups, active environmental groups, outdoor recreation clubs, mountain biking, climbing and fishing clubs are all key to youth involvement. Affiliations with partner organizations can provide access to events and experiences that add to the tone and texture of life in Powell River for young people.
Youth need to be involved in creating opportunities for youth. By doing so, they will effectively identify goals and objectives and reflect issues that youth in Powell River today champion.