A Youth Action Plan for Revelstoke needs input from, well, youth…

By David F. Rooney

With any luck, all of the pizza being purchased by Okanagan College for the first session of planning for a Youth Action Plan in Revelstoke will be devoured on Thursday by young men and women eager to put their ideas into action.

Mike Brown and Megan Shandro, who are overseeing the plan’s development, said Thursday’s planning session, slated to run from 4 pm until 5:30 pm in Room 104 at the college, will focus on developing a survey to gauge young people’s opinions on a variety of issues ranging from housing and employment to cultural opportunities.

“We need to figure out what questions to ask,” said Brown, who is the Youth Action Plan Liaison. “We’ve heard from service providers but we need to hear from youths.”

Getting a cross-section of young people to participate can be challenging. The term “Youth” is generally applied to everyone between the ages of 15 and 30, but this is by no means a homogeneous group of people. The differences between a 15-year-old and a 30-year-old are vast.

“We think the 18-to-25-year-olds will be the most challenging,” Brown said. “We also think they’re the ones we really need to hear from regarding employment and housing issues.”

Young people are sometimes stereotyped as unengaged, apathetic and indolent with few serious interests beyond having a good time or causing problems for older people. Like most stereotypes this is unfair and largely untrue, although young people are under-represented at public forums on municipal issues and even when it comes to voting.

“We need to engage them more and we’d like some to sit on a Youth Initiative Committee,” Shandro said.

For now, though it will be enough if some young men and women come out help sharpen the focus of the survey she and Brown are trying to develop. Ideally, the survey will begin later this month with data being collected through until the end of March. They’ll analyze the survey results in April and release them in May.

If you are between 15 and 30 and would like to help develop a meaningful Youth Action Plan for Revelstoke join Mike Brown and Megan Shandro in Room 104 at Okanagan College at 4 pm on Thursday. You should RSVP by calling 250-837-4235 or send them an e-mail at stokedyouth@live.ca. The program is also developing a blog called Stokedyouth. Check it out and — oh! — did I mention there will be free pizza on Thursday?