Often times, youth express frustration at being left out of conversations about their community. They feel as though people do not think they are mature enough or ready to be a contributing member of their neighbourhood. In Halton Hills, one place where this is not the case is the mayor’s youth advisory committee (MYAC). The mayor meets regularly with a group of energetic youth from across Halton Hills to engage in discussions about upcoming issues and to plug into what it is that the youth want from their government. Recently, MYAC opened their doors to Tamarack as they participated in a community conversation as part of the 1000 Conversations Campaign.
One thing that really stood out from this conversation was the heavy focus on the environment. Several youth highlighted sustainable energy and large green spaces in their vision for community. Along with this was a desire for self-sufficiency; for the community to be able to take care of itself without having to rely on outside support.
The discussion also highlighted a vision of community that was very active. People’s stories involved helping others in times of need. This could be through fundraising for someone who was sick or help others with an environmental crisis, in the case of the recent ice storm.
Halton Hills is not a big community. It's made up of two small towns: Georgetown and Acton. There is a great pride in the amount that this small community is able to do when they come together. It was incredible to hear the long list of fundraisers and community activities undertaken by such a small group of people. They have managed to raise thousands of dollars to support their community and the larger world. It quickly became clear that Halton Hills is a community that punches above its weight when it comes to community donations.
As we wrapped up the conversation, we were struck by the incredible potential youth have to build community not just in the future but now as well. Here there was a room full of people with energy and ideas. The challenge for any community is creating the space for their youth to bring forward their gifts.
One person said her big "aha moment was realizing that though there are many differences in experiences and personalities, people have similar visions and hopes for their community. How neat!
Below are bunch of the visioning pictures that people drew at this conversation: