“What we decided was to have youth engagement and to have more youth involved is better than to just have a core group of 12 or less,” Family Support and Intersections Coordinator Sarah Phoenix explains.
Since the Youth Advisory Board was created by North Hastings Children’s Services in 2014, Phoenix explains they have worked with a “core group” of 10 to 12 members. This year they have opened it up to include more youth aged 12 to 17 in the community. Phoenix says there are currently over 50 registered on the board. “Last year we did so many projects that made a huge difference in so many people’s lives in Bancroft,” returning member Brianne Crawford says.
“Youth aren’t just the future, they’re the here and the now,” Crawford says. “We need to focus on their well-being to make sure they have the environment and the town and the public to grow and thrive in.”
Since being created, the board has worked within North Hastings on multiple projects – including the rainbow crosswalk that was painted earlier this year. “The mandate of the current group of youth advisors is to create a safe space for youth within our community,” Phoenix says. Work is already underway on the youth centre with a meeting planned for November to discuss the details of it.
“I want to make a change in the community for youth and have an impact,” new member Quinn Goodwin explains. He says the creation of the youth centre was the reason he wanted to join this year. “I know there’s not a lot of things to do in Bancroft so having this up would give youth a place to go after school,” he says.
“Youth consultation and special projects will still take place, but it will be based on youth interest and passions that the current youth advisors come up,” Phoenix adds.
She says the current group has already given input on the North Hastings Community Safety and Well-being plan. Phoenix points out that it’s not just the youth that are doing the work as the team at Children’s Services has been doing their homework to try and figure out what the youth are interested in so they can better facilitate that.
Crawford says that with more members on the board than ever she hopes they can make an even bigger impact in the community.