Partnership seeks to make Cranbrook more youth friendly

The city is part of a initiatie with Big Brothers Big Sisters to make Cranbrook more youth friendly place.

The city is part of a initiatie  with Big Brothers Big Sisters to make Cranbrook more youth friendly place.

Dana Osiowy, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Frankie Hols, youth liaison, gave council an update on their work so far with CBK Youth, and where they planned to go next.

“We talk a lot about engagement,” Hols said. “It’s not only getting our youth engaged, but also that we as a community be engaged with our youth.”

One of the ways they are helping do those things is by encouraging communication and collaboration between youth service providers in the community.

In August, they hosted the first youth service providers network opportunity, which had 25 people attend.

“It was really well received,” she said.

They are also hosting activities, such as a giant slip and slide in Idlewild Park in September for Grade 7-12 students. In total 28 kids came out and Hols said it was a ton of fun.

They also put together a survey to find out how youth-friendly Cranbrook is currently.

“The survey will help us get strategic direction for the project,” she said. “We created the survey in two parts.”

One part gets opinion from the youth in the community, the other of the adults. Both versions  can be found at cbkyouth.ca.

From here they will be compiling the results of the survey and finding key focus areas that they will implement through the youth advisory committee as well as the youth service providers network.

Mayor Wayne Stetski said that youth issues have been a priority for himself and council in the past two years.

He noted the large role Columbia Basin Trust plays, giving $25,000 a year for four years and a $15,000 grant for youth engagement.

“I do think we’re entering a very positive era for youth in Cranbrook,” Stetski said.

Coun. Diana J. Scott said Big Brothers Big Sisters Cranbrook is doing a great job on the youth initiative.

“I like your plan and where you’re going,” Scott said, but cautioned that some things like youth centres cost a lot of money. She hoped they could come up with creative solutions for youth engagement and activities. She said they could look at what kinds of activities a youth centre offers and find a more affordable way to do it.

Osiowy said that she has worked in youth centres in the past, as well as on a youth centre network when she was with Columbia Basin Trust.

“I’m very aware of the pitfalls of having a youth centre,” she said. “It can really be a black hole.”

A few years ago she worked on asset maps of Cranbrook.

“We got these beautiful maps and there were a million things that were actually happening in Cranbrook,” she said. “We realized there’s lots of stuff, but there are barriers to youth participating.”

She said they are working on a sort of clearing house of activities to facilitate involvement in the activities we do have in Cranbrook.