Airdrie Board of Youth Affairs provides advice to council
Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 10:43 am
The Airdrie Board of Youth Affairs (ABYA) is a group of approximately 10 young people, ages 11 to 18, who work in an advisory capacity to Airdrie City council on youth issues.
Alex Ogunbiyi, 15, became a member of the ABYA board in 2015.
“At first it was a volunteer opportunity but as I got to know what the ABYA actually did, it gave me an opportunity to give back to my community and get more involved on youth issues,” he said. “I feel it’s a good experience being on a board and getting to meet new people.
“Council may not be as read in on what’s going on in the community, especially with youth. As youth we have that first hand experience and can pass that along directly across and then they can implement any plans or strategies they feel fit.”
In 2015, the ABYA worked on a number of issues, including public health, as it relates to youth.
“We helped (the Teen Clinic at the Highland Primary Care Network (HPCN)) with advertisements, posters and flyers,” Ogunbiyi said.
City of Airdrie Social Planner Pauline Clark said HPCN’s Teen Clinic provides different services to youth in Airdrie, including services to help youth deal with depression, stress and bullying.
“They came to the ABYA and it ended up being a really positive relationship,” she said. “The ABYA was successful in providing some feedback for their new promotional campaign. They really did use (the ABYA members’) words and voice incorporated into their posters.”
Educating themselves about youth homelessness was also a focus of the group in 2015.
Clark said the group is recruiting new members to add to the current 10 active members. Any youth who reside in the City of Airdrie and are between the ages of 11 and 18 and interested in getting involved can apply via a new online application form expected to go live at airdrie.ca in mid-September.
“We really just want to engage with young people that have an interest and investment in their community and really want to speak on behalf of the youth as it relates to any issues affecting youth in Airdrie,” she said.
The ABYA meets Mondays as a group and meets with council on a quarterly basis. The group originated in 2005 when it was known as the Hijinx Youth Council.
In 2008, the group was given more structure and became an advisory board to City council. Clark said the group is very much supported by the City and is part of the City’s Youth Strategy implemented in 2009.
The ABYA will meet for the first time after the summer break on Aug. 29. Members will be at AirdrieFEST Sept. 10 to answer questions and, hopefully, recruit a few new members.