Nov. 28, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - One solution to reversing New Brunswick's population decline is to increase the involvement of the province's youth in various issues affecting them. This is the overriding recommendation made by the New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth in a new report, Here today, Here to Stay.
"The youth council actively promotes meaningful youth engagement," said Jordan Graham, acting chair of the organization. "Youth are passionate about the future of our province and clearly indicated to us that they want to be meaningfully involved in making a difference. This is an invitation from New Brunswick youth to all communities and policymakers to work with them to find creative and innovative ways to get youth involved in decision-making."
The report reflects a number of potential solutions as suggested by young New Brunswickers during a series of forums, organized by the council, called Rock The Boat. Those recommendations include:
"The quality of these recommendations speaks to the enthusiasm and energy of young New Brunswickers in every region of our province," said Education Minister Kelly Lamrock, who is also the minister responsible for the youth council. "Who better to make recommendations on how to grow our population and make New Brunswick the place to be for young people than those who are most directly affected? We need to ensure all New Brunswickers can take an active role in making our province self-sufficient. I look forward to reviewing these recommendations and discussing them with my colleagues."
During 22 Rock the Boat forums in 15 communities, more than 200 young New Brunswickers answered survey questions related to population growth and shared ideas. From this information, eight key issues were identified: job opportunities; education and training; entertainment; events and meeting places for youth; environment; concerns with leadership; community pride; and local economy development.
As a follow-up, youth were invited to the Here Today, Here To Stay Big Splash summit in Fredericton, held May 31 to June 1. Youth discussed the issues, narrowing their focus to three priorities: job opportunities, education and entertainment. Recommendations were subsequently presented to the public and policymakers.
"The council sees a real openness to try new approaches to engage youth in finding solutions to challenges as the province moves toward self sufficiency," said Graham. "We will be working hard with government to facilitate ongoing youth input in policy and program development. We look forward to these recommendations working their way into future policy about population growth and other pressing issues."
The full report is available at www.youthinfo.ca.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ivan Corbett, executive director, New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth, 506-453-3271, or toll-free, 888-830-5588.