Connecting to youth

Organizations guided in youth engagement in upcoming workshops

Businesses and organizations seeking to engage youth can gain some insight at a pair of workshops coming up later this month.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook has received a $15,000 Columbia Basin Trust grant to work on youth engagement in Cranbrook, and the latest step in that process is two workshops on Jan. 28 and 29.

The goal of the workshops is to “help people who currently aren’t doing youth engagement but really want to,” said Dana Osiowy, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook.

“We are going to talk about the young people in Cranbrook, some step by step strategies, and include the spectrum of youth engagement.

“If people have zero engagement and they just want to move it along a little bit, that’s fine. But if they want to move it further and further along, that’s good too and we’ll talk about that.”

The two workshops, which are targeted at businesses, non-profit organizations and service clubs, will be identical so participants need only sign up for one.

2012 Sam Steele Princess Taylor Miller will be the resident youth expert, speaking to participants about youth culture in Cranbrook.

The workshop will present valuable information that Big Brothers Big Sisters has gathered from a recent survey of Cranbrook’s youth, and adults who interact with them.

“We can talk about: this is what you guys are saying, and this is what young people are saying, and this is what other adults are saying,” said Osiowy.

“We also want to give them a snapshot of the situation for young people in Cranbrook. From our survey we got really juicy information about how young people feel. It’s not, ‘I hate Cranbrook.’ It’s, ‘This is where I do feel I can talk to someone, and this is where I don’t feel like I can talk to someone.'”

Following on from these adult workshops, Big Brothers Big Sisters is planning youth workshops to share tips for engaging with businesses.

“We are going to teach young people how to market their skills. So adults will know how to engage youth and youth will know how to do more things in their community,” said Osiowy.

The youth engagement workshops will be held on January 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. and on January 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Manual Training Centre in Cranbrook.

To register, phone 250-489-3111 or email dana.osiowy@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca.