Friday, April 30, 2010

Halton Youth Empowerment Conference

It's Your Voice, April 29, 2010
I attended the "Halton Youth Empowerment Conference" at the Holiday Inn on Sth Service Rd, Burlington. Excellent attendance of teens from all over Halton. They were divided into 3 groups, with each group rotating through three workshops.

  • Influencing Public Policy: identifying the problem, and taking the appropriate steps to effect public policy.
  • Me to We - Advocacy Plan. Me to We is a new kind of social enterprise for people who want to help change the world with their daily choices.
  • HRYAC (Halton Region Youth Advisory Committee) Youth Voice. A series of questions were asked of the group of 23 on a variety of social issues
Because of an earlier meeting I missed the Me to We session but sat in for the other two.
In Influencing Public Policy, I though there might have been more emphasis on engaging municipal council but there was good discussion. I'm just not sure of the session's relevance to most of the teens present.

I was there to hear what teens had to say, so I found the next session, Youth Voice, especially interesting. A series of statistics on teen social issues was shown on the screen. Questions and opinions were asked of the workshop attendees whose responses was given via small wireless keypads to ensure their anonymity. There was excellent group discussion on each segment.

The biggest concern by far? Drugs and alcohol. I thought it might have been weight or other social issues but that was the top concern. Bullying is also an issue. Milton teens continue to see a lack of things to do, or places to go in our town.

The workshop/breakout sessions were all conducted by teens, for teens, with a few adults sitting in. Well run, well done. I'm glad I had the opportunity to attend.

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