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Monday, 28 November 2016 08:00

Duchess youths will be having a good time

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Nothing to do for teenagers in the County of Newell? Not a chance. The Duchess Youth Network Group will host a youth night with games, music and contests Dec. 2 from 7-10 p.m. at the Duchess Recreation Centre. It is for those in grades 7-12 in the County of Newell region. Organizers are also hoping for some local entertainment.

Lori Walsh, Newell Youth Action Network co-ordinator, Grasslands Regional Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), says it’s a way to engage youths in some fun activities together.
“Getting Duchess youth together to share food, activities and to generate interest in creating the Duchess Advisory Council and begin to plan what activities and events youth in Duchess are interested in doing in the future, similar to what we are doing in communities throughout the Newell Region,” explains Walsh who says the activities they decided to go with were determined by discussions with youth and Village of Duchess’ Sara Codere.
Walsh says support is coming from Grasslands Regional FCSS funding, the Village of Duchess Recreation Centre space was donated and they are using staff resources and volunteers.
The Newell Youth Action Network project is funded by Grasslands Regional FCSS and supported in various ways by community organizations and municipalities.
The Duchess Youth Network is a response to help get youths organized to be doing something fun and constructive with their time.
 Working with youths and community partners, Walsh explains Grasslands Regional FCSS is working to create youth-driven Youth Advisory Councils in communities throughout the Newell Region including Bassano, Brooks, Duchess, Tilley, Rainier, Scandia, Rolling Hills and Rosemary under the umbrella of the Newell Youth Action Network.
These events planned in each of these communities is really a kick-off for the Newell Youth Action Network’s Youth Advisory councils in each community.
“In response to the closing of Ashton’s Place Youth Centre in Brooks, Grasslands Regional FCSS moved up re-administering the Youth Out-of-School Activities Survey to all Junior High students in the Newell Region,” explains Lynn Pye-Matheson, FCSS executive director.
“FCSS staff Lori Walsh and Dr. Kyle Peterson got generous permission from the school to administer the survey and have discussions with junior-high students. Nine hundred students gave feedback on what activities were available and what they wanted to see happen for youth in their communities. Youth told us that they wanted to have local youth activities, to connect with other youth in the region and to have more of a voice in their communities. The Newell Youth Action Network was created by Grasslands Regional FCSS in response to the survey/ discussions and feedback from a Youth Forum attended by a large group of stakeholders including youth, school representatives, youth serving organizations and municipal representative.”
Walsh adds there will be six more initial kick-off events.
“We are hoping to have youth representatives from each Advisory Council and youth champions in each community to act as mentors/advisors to the youth,” Walsh explains. “These representatives will then connect at the Newell Youth Action Network table to bring forward ideas and plan out of school activities and events which give youth a voice in communities, connect youth and promote positive the growth of youth as future community leaders.  It’s exciting to be a part of this. The communities have been extremely supportive.”

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor