What did you take away from your time with the LYAC?
Nicole: So during my time with the LYAC I grew in my confidence and in my ability to advocate for myself and for others. I created a valuable network that has lead to friendships and jobs and many other opportunities.
Brandon: the LYAC really introduced me, uh, to a lot of different, uh, opportunities in the community to get involved, and a lot of the skills that I gained in the LYAC things like report writing and public speaking and, uh, just kind of understanding exactly how municipal politics works and just how politics in general works.
Grace: I joined LYAC when I just moved to Canada, and by joining LYAC does not just given me the resources to help me with my transition, but instead, LYAC gave me a voice.
Maia: it really helped me see like the impact a youth can make and it laid the foundations for seeing how important it is to involve yourself to like really step out into your community.
Why is it important for young people to participate in community decision-making?
Elizabeth: So I think youth participation is important because I think it’s important to have representation from everyone who lives in the community.
Brandon: I think it’s, um, one of those ways where if you get, uh, youth participation early you end up getting youth participation, uh, for life
Grace: some of the policies and practices we have are outdated. As a progressing society we need to bring innovative, young voices into decision-making so we can move forward.
What do you think is the most important thing participants take away from the LYAC?
Nicole: The most important thing participants take away from the LYAC is the ability to see the world through the eyes of others.
Brandon: I think the most important thing that participants take away, uh, is just a better sense of community.
Grace: LYAC helps participants to build a well-rounded range of skills to allow them to continue to contribute to different domains beyond their daily life
Maia: I think just knowing the impact you can make, um, it really lays the foundation for growing as a person. It’s important for the community to have the LYAC, as well ,because it’s a push and pull we see both perspectives. It pushes youth out of their bubbles and, um, the community kind of pulls them in
Elizabeth: it kind of allows young people the space to explore advocacy for themselves.
What advice would you give an aspiring young person who wants to make a difference in the community?
Brandon: If you want to, you know make a difference I think it’s important to find, um, something that you’re passionate about and not to just kind of jump on the bandwagon that somebody else is doing. Find something, uh, that you’re passionate about and then find people who are doing that thing.
Elizabeth: I would just say before going for it, and you should definitely go for it, just think, think about it in terms of like who it impacts, and what kind of outcomes you want from it.
Grace: Be patient. To knowing that the changes that you want to make is not just some basic level, uh, change, it is cultural and a systematic change.
Maia: I think advice I would give would just be to put yourself out there, um, you can’t do anything if you don’t show up. It’s really easy to see an event happening and think well, I want to watch my TV show that night but it’s really important to just show up from there on you can network, you meet people, people want youth in the room. You will be the youngest person in the room most of the time but it’s really important that you are there for that reason, showing up is really half the battle and it’s the biggest part of the battle.