New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth

Council addresses wellness issue at Select Committee on Wellness hearing (08/02/12)

NB 186

Feb. 12, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Awareness, engagement and accessibility were they key themes that emerged recently as the New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth presented its report on wellness and youth in New Brunswick to the Select Committee on Wellness.

An all-party committee of the Legislative Assembly, the Select Committee on Wellness is charged with the responsibility of engaging residents and stakeholders in discussions, and reporting to the committee with recommendations that will promote public engagement and ownership of wellness.

Council members Jordan Graham and Simon Pearn presented recommendations from the council's "Rock the Boat: Healthy YOUth, Healthy NB" campaign report, which was the result of extensive consultations with youth throughout the province in 2006.

"The report the council submitted to the Select Committee on Wellness offers a prescription, from a youth perspective, on how to encourage youth interest and involvement on the topic of wellness," Graham said. "It contains an overview of our recommendations on the subject and the process it followed in forming them."

Some of the recommendations in the report included:

  • The continuation of health and year-long physical education from K-8, the implementation of mandatory health and regular, year-long physical education in grades 9 and 10, as well as a mandatory health and/or physical education component for students in grades 11 and 12, which would be required for graduation.
  • The development of a structured monitoring process for health and physical education classes, which would yield measurable progress reports to be compared with an initial assessment of the students' levels of physical fitness.
  • The meaningful engagement of youth in decision-making and strategic processes.
  • Ensuring that organized physical activity be incorporated into morning recess, noon hours and mid-afternoon breaks throughout the school day wherever class time will not allow for scheduled physical activity.
  • Subsidization for participation in healthy physical activities and engaging in healthy behaviours in the form of a provincial tax credit and/or a provincial physical activity rebate.

  • The development of a partnership between the Province of New Brunswick and local farmers/producers to help subsidize the cost of healthy food choices in all school cafeterias (K-12).

The report is the result of a series of consultations with youth throughout the province in 2006. The council consulted with over 200 youth through 19 community forums in 17 different communities throughout New Brunswick with its "Rock the Boat - Healthy YOUth, Healthy NB" campaign. The report also includes findings from the Big Splash Provincial Youth Conference that culminated from the Rock the Boat tour, and involved nearly 100 youth from all over New Brunswick.

The Rock the Boat forums and follow up conference were completely youth organized and driven, and provided each participant an opportunity to be heard and to learn from others.

The New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth is the provincial body representative of youth, which voices the interests, needs, concerns and perspectives of young people aged 15-24. The council's role is to sustain and enhance the voice, engagement and leadership of youth in New Brunswick. One way in which the council achieves this goal is by using a process of consultation and meaningful engagement that creates an open and supportive dialogue for all participants. This process is called Rock the Boat.

"Through Rock the Boat and other efforts, the council helps provide a voice for youth to government," Graham said. "We encourage youth to participate in public policy development and practice."

The New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth hopes this work will impact the select committee's report and future actions of government in the development of wellness programs and policy in New Brunswick.

"This work will affect all New Brunswickers, young and old," Graham said. "Our goal when we started this process was to help bring a youth voice to the wellness issue, and to actively involve youth in policymaking and program development around this issue. We recognize the important economic and health challenges caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits, and the tremendous importance of engaging youth in discussions promote youth engagement and ownership of wellness."

The council is also trying to encourage youth to take action to make a difference in other areas of concern for New Brunswick, such as the issue of demographic decline. The council's involvement in work on the issue of population growth will be stepped up when it hosts another series of Rock the Boat sessions leading up to a provincial summit in late May 2008.

To sign up to receive information and updates about Rock the Boat and other council initiatives, contact the New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth at http://www.youthinfo.ca, or call 1-888-830-5588.

08/02/12

MEDIA CONTACT: Ivan Corbett, Executive Director, New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth, 1-888-830-5588 or 506-453-3271.

08/02/12