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CAMP Whistler wants YOUth

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How about coming to CAMP Whistler this fall?

CAMP (Community Asset Mapping Project) Whistler is all about YOUTH. We know youth have important insights and opinions about our community, and we want to hear them. What makes Whistler a great place to grow up in? What could make it even better? CAMP Whistler is a weekend workshop, Sept. 25-26, to honour all that is youth within our community.

Whistler peeps aged 13-18 can help to shape our Official Community Plan (OCP) update through CAMP Whistler, where we will identify Whistler's issues and possibilities, according to youth.

"The capacity for progress of our societies is based, among other elements, on their capacity to incorporate the contribution and responsibility of youth in the building and designing of the future. In addition to their intellectual contribution and their ability to mobilize support, they bring unique perspectives that need to be taken into account." - United Nations World Programme of Action for Youth in the Year 2000

Youth mainstreaming is the engagement of youth in governance and policy decision-making; it means consistent, committed youth-adult co-operation at every level. Youth-led development recognizes the ability and need of youth to be agents of change; activities are designed and implemented by youth to improve their lives or the sustainability of their communities. These two complementary approaches have a place in our community, and the OCP update is a perfect opportunity to put them into practice.

June18, 2010, marked the beginning of our efforts to engage youth in our community and OCP update. Five students from the newly formed OCP Youth Advisory Group distributed a questionnaire to determine just what is important to Whistler's youth. And boy did the students have a lot to say! Over 140 questionnaires were completed and of these, 130 proved to be extremely valuable - not bad considering it was the last day of classes before summer vacation and yearbooks were already out.

So what do Whistler's youth really think? The following are the general trends that came out of the WSS Youth Questionnaire.

• Get Input! Youth care about this community and have lots to say!

• The community of Whistler is special, and part of what makes this community so great is the "smallness" of it. The youth of Whistler feel we need to stay a small community.

• The design of the village and the overall design of Whistler are valued by youth. We need to re-enforce and improve upon these strengths/our successes.

• Access to nature is important to the youth of Whistler; whether is it the mountains, parks, lakes, trail systems, or pristine wilderness. These spaces must be protected and enhanced.

• The youth of Whistler desire more safe places where they can meet and hang out; where they can feel supported yet independent.

So what's next for youth in our community? The RMOW, in partnership with the B.C. Real Estate Association, is hosting CAMP Whistler. But what is asset mapping? Asset mapping is the process of identifying resources, including services, people, economic opportunities, clubs and support networks, in a given locale. What makes it especially unique is that it starts from the premise that youth are assets to their community.

 

The International Centre for Sustainable Communities - a Vancouver based NGO - will facilitate CAMP Whistler, a two-day workshop for 10-12 youth aged 13-18. The workshop will engage youth in collecting and mapping an inventory of community assets/resources that serve their needs related to the themes of the OCP. These youth will then go out into the community and create asset mapping activities of their own with their friends, all of which will be fed into the OCP update.

Eric Brown, Youth-Led Development Officer for Sustainable Cities, the consultant doing Whistler's asset mapping, said: "Sustainable Cities is excited to be contributing to sustainable community development and youth empowerment in Whistler. Building on the experience we have in Vernon, Iqaluit and Dawson Creek, we are excited to be engaging youth directly in the OCP update process. The community assets and gaps in amenities that the youth of Whistler will identify through the asset mapping process will help to formulate strategy that will result in a more youth friendly and equitable municipality."

CAMP Whistler is a positive and energizing approach to planning that builds on individual and community strengths and will empower our youth to create change. We believe that, "Given opportunity and support, the leaders of tomorrow will actively lead us toward a more sustainable future today."

For more information about how to get involved in the OCP updat go to www.whistler2010.com or email ocp@whistler2010.com.

 

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