Children are our future

Workshops teach that helping young people fall in love with their hometown will let Cranbrook and Kimberley thrive

If young people like living in our city, they will find a way to stay when they grow up, buy a home and raise their family here. If they don’t, they will move away, leaving an ever larger generational gap in the community.

That’s the message at two special workshops being held later this month in Cranbrook and Kimberley.

Youth Engagement 101 is a joint initiative of Columbia Basin Trust, B.C. Healthy Communities, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook (BBBS).

“If we don’t engage with youth, it means the death of our small community,” said Dana Osiowy, executive director of BBBS.

“Statistically, if we don’t have young people in their younger years who like the community and are engaged, then they will leave. Then they won’t be buying houses and they won’t be raising their families here and that affects us economically.”

Osiowy said it is up to adults in the community to learn how to engage youth so they feel connected to their home town. The all-day workshops will be targeted at business owners, elected officials, and non-profit workers who all have pivotal roles in engaging youth.

“We are going to lead them through a training process so they can learn why youth engagement is important, and where they are doing youth engagement that is working well,” said Osiowy.

The workshops will provide strategies and processes that rural communities have used and practical tools for action.

“So people can go back to their boss and their board of directors and explain why it’s important to engage with youth,” said Osiowy.

“Imagine if we have a whole cadre of adults and service providers and the chamber who knew how to meaningfully engage youth. It could be awesome.”

The Cranbrook Youth Engagement workshop will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Manual Training School.

The Kimberley workshop will be held on Wednesday, Nov.14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kimberley Seniors Centre.

To register, email or phone facilitator Michelle d’Entremont at 1-800-505-8998.

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