Youth and our graduates are the voice of the future

To the editor;

The BC Rural Network’s AGM was held in Williams Lake this past month with approximately 60 local government, not-for –profit, aboriginal and other interested parties in attendance.

The North Thompson Valley had five representatives attending, and in the long and short of it all, one of us in now a member for the board of directors. That would be me.

The main two focus points of the conference workshops that I attended were in conjunction with youth involvement and local food initiatives.

Policy adjustments at the municipal and regional district levels are the fastest, easiest way to enable ‘change’ to happen.  It was exciting to meet with mayors and council representatives from so many progressive rural B.C. communities.

With regard to Youth Involvement, I attended one round table discussion where several young ‘high-achievers’ repeatedly stated that ‘although 20 per cent of the youth are viewed as ‘keeners and high-achiever’, and 20 per cent of the youth ‘just didn’t want to engage at all’ – that there are still 60 per cent of the youth who would like to engage in decision making, volunteerism,  and ‘changing the future’ in a positive way.  But  they are ‘never asked’.

We were encouraged to try to figure out where the interest levels of this 60 per cent lie; and one by one engage in meaningful conversations with them, building trust through conversation and small engaging projects.

These individuals will soon gain the confidence to ‘volunteer’ their expertise in their own field of interest and will become vibrant members of the community.

I would like to take this moment to congratulate all the youth who are graduating this year, and encourage them to continue to be involved in their community – from near or afar.

Your voice is the voice of the future.  You are needed and wanted here in this valley.  Please find ways to have your voice heard in your areas of interest.

Cheryl Thomas