By Raviv Litman
In August 2011 BC transit, Translink and CUTA teamed up to put on a weekend long conference at UBC to educate and enfranchise 18-30 year olds who work or study public transit and transit orientated community development. The conference was focused on the next generation of transportation use in Vancouver and to a lesser degree around the province. At the beginning of the summit we focused on the role of public transit today, the history of automobile dependant development, and what the future may look like if we rethink our transportation goals. On the second day things got more hands-on: we brainstormed on budget necessities and future funding sources (such as carbon taxes). Then we went out into the city in groups and toured transit facilities related to light rail (sky trains), the Vancouver Transit Centre (buses), and smart growth village centres (everything!).
On Sunday three transit based marketing experts gave us advice on how to engage youth, and then we drew up our own outlines for possible public engagement realistic to our demographic, including a task oriented transit youth council for Vancouver and a sky train party. Winners of a presentation contest will present our plans to a number of future conferences, including a national summit in Toronto. I went into this conference with a passing interest in regional transportation development but came out more informed and excited about the direction of our province, even though the problems and mistakes also became clearer. When they hold this summit again I would recommend anyone with a seed of interest to apply.
The deaths of several LGBTQ youth in the United States last year prompted a massive community response, much of it via social media and youtube. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the different video campaigns to raise awareness about homophobia- and the different meanings and strategies (some including celebrities!) behind them. It gets better, Make it better and Stand Up: Don’t stand for homophobic bullying are just three of the many video campaigns to raise awareness about these issues. Each project communicates something slightly different- and says something different about who is responsible for addressing homophobia in our communities. I’m heartened that so much attention has been brought to this issue and think now is the time to do more!
Young people and students have been real leaders in addressing these issues in our schools. In June, the Burnaby school district was the latest region to pass an anti-homophobia policy for their schools. They wouldn’t have been able to do this without the brave stand of many students, parents and community members stood up and supported this new policy, amidst opposition and controversy.
What about in Victoria though – has enough been done on this issue? Does your school have an anti-homophobia policy or Gay-Straight Alliance? I’ve heard that many of these groups are not as active in Victoria anymore. Is this the case in your school?
You can learn more about what youth in Victoria had to say about homophobia and discrimination at cvyc.net. If you want to work with us on this issue, get in touch!
Stand up: Don’t Stand for Homophobic Bullying
It Gets Better Videos
Make it Better project
Feel like planning a leadership summit? So do we.
First meeting: Next Tuesday, 5:30 PM 525 Government Street. There will be food. Pass it on.
The CVYC (City of Victoria Youth Council) had its first meeting in four weeks last night, and it was a very emotional reunion. That’s probably an overstatement, but it was definitely exciting. Many had returned after long absences – some from over seas, others from Caffe Fantastico. Friends caught up and new members met old over 7 layer dip and samosas. It was a Kodak moment, and the camera forgotten upstairs. Yup.
Anyways, we had some excellent discussion about many different things, including an EXCITING project the council has coming up in the fall. The project is a really great opportunity for collaboration, and we’ve already been talking to organizations like Volunteer Victoria, United Way, and Youth Combating Intolerance about getting involved. There’s a lot of support for the project, and the city has even given the youth council a grant to fund it, so all youth can participate for free. The project will be a fantastic opportunity for learning and collaborating for the 100+ youth who participate.
So WHAT’S the project, you ask? A youth leadership summit.
All youth leaders in the Greater Victoria District will be welcomed to attend. Youth involved in their community, whether students in school’s leadership class or members of their municipal youth council, will be welcomed to the summit to learn from experienced community members about the challenges of creating community change, and how to overcome those barriers. Even more unique about this summit will be the opportunity for youth to collaborate with other youth leaders at the conference – an opportunity for networking that youth rarely ever get. With the aid of renowned facilitators,summit participants will get together with others who share their passion and area of interest, talk about the issues and challenges in that area, and create project-based solutions.
We’re pretty stoked about it.
The planning committee itself will be a fantastic leadership opportunity. Though the project has been initiated by the CVYC, the planning committee will be composed of youth from various community organizations. Anyone who is interested in being part of the planning process is welcomed to be. Email email@example.com for more info.
After many lonely hours in UVic storage rooms, much argument about fonts and colours, and too much caffeine, we have our wicked campaign material.
We’re everywhere this summer. Whether Canada Day, SkaFest, Pride Parade, Habit Coffee (?), YouthCore and the City of Victoria Youth Council are there doing something or other. We’ve got t-shirts, buttons, rack cards, and confidence. We’re looking hot, and we want to be seen. Stay tuned for more if you want to see where and what we’re up to this summer.
YouthCore has a blog. Sweet.