Towards a youth-friendly community

Welcome to the first guest column in the Daily Townsman from CBK Youth!

Tara Woods

Welcome to the first guest column in the Daily Townsman from CBK Youth!

In our monthly columns, we’ll be talking about what’s happening with youth in Cranbrook, CBK Youth events and projects, and youth-relevant issues.

CBK Youth is a youth engagement project in the City of Cranbrook. Big Brothers Big Sisters holds and supervises the contract, and we are funded by Columbia Basin Trust through their Community Directed Youth Funds, a four-year funded project that is happening in communities throughout the Basin. We are in our second year of this project.

Our purpose is to create a youth-friendly community based on what our youth identify as their wants and needs. We have a Youth Action Team consisting of youth ages 12-18 that directs the goals of CBK Youth, a Project Advisory Committee consisting of respected, educated and experienced service providers and community members, and a Project Coordinator, Tara Woods, who works with youth, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the community to reach the project’s goals.

At the start of the project, CBK Youth held a survey that was completed by over 350 local youth. Through the survey we found out that even though there are cool things going on for youth, 46% of youth surveyed don’t know about it. 68% of youth surveyed feel that they do not have a voice in the community, and 51% do not feel valued in Cranbrook. 53% do however feel that our city does make a great effort to acknowledge youth who do contribute to the community in their own way.

In response to these statistics, we’ve been hard at work connecting with resources, supporting the Youth Action Team in their goals, working with organizations and agencies in the community, and working directly with individual youth in their plans for a more youth-friendly Cranbrook. We have a Facebook page (CBKyouth) and a website (cbkyouth.ca) that are great resources for events, interesting videos and posts.

We are also currently recruiting passionate and dedicated youth ages 12-18 to join our Youth Action Team. It requires about 4-6 hours a month, an open mind and a willingness to work with others to create a really cool community. We’ll be meeting at the sitting area in Safeway at 4 PM on Thursday, December 18th and again on Thursday, January 8th.  There’s always free food and drinks, and it’s a great opportunity to clock volunteer hours for resumes and school applications. We have also started a Youth Service Provider Network for organizations, agencies and schools to work together in providing support for youth, and new members are welcome!

Tara Woods, Project Coordinator, is in the office or out in the community on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. She can be reached at 1.778.977.5434 or tara.woods@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca