Youth take over Victoria City Hall

Saanich and Victoria youth councils host second annual LifeHacks youth conference at Victoria City Hall

Victoria Youth Council members Jenna Jiang

Victoria Youth Council members Jenna Jiang

If you passed by Victoria City Hall on April 30 you might have expected to see city employees clad in business attire or an elected official if you were lucky. What you would not expect to find was a large group of youth gathered in council chambers, at 9:30 a.m. no less.

That day the City of Victoria Youth Council and Saanich Youth Council collaborated to host the second annual LifeHacks youth conference at Victoria City Hall. This highly anticipated event titled LifeHacks: 2.0, A Learning Day was targeted towards people aged 14 to 24 who wished to gain some tips and tricks to save time, gain financial literacy skills, learn strategies to de-stress, and more. The conference included youth workshop facilitators, emcees and a youth marketing/social media team.

As a project planner of the event, I can say that this project has been different than any other that I have helped organize. The emphasis on youth involvement is empowering and fulfilling. To attend project planning meetings for the past four months, and to now see it take place is an accomplishment that I share with members of CVYC, SYC and the city.

During this project, it was the youth who actively made all decisions for conference location, workshop content, date and time, promotion and refreshments. (It was especially fun to decide what snacks to provide.)

The conference itself was kicked off by the Victoria Youth Poet Laureate Ann-Bernice Thomas, whose passionate and witty performance sparked everyone’s attention regarding relevant youth topics such as sexual health, creating healthy relationships and setting goals for the future. Some workshop topics included financial literacy, tenancy rights, employee rights, stress management, mental health, sexual health and speaking with confidence. The event was catered for lunch by Juma farm to food truck.

LifeHacks 2.0 was a successful youth-driven project because of the willingness to let youth take the reins, within boundaries. A defined budget, timeline and network of adults supported and advised the group but the youth council members effectively undertook the project co-ordination. CVYC and SYC members applied for grants, networked with community members and used their social media strengths to plan, promote and execute an event that the group agreed was relevant and beneficial to others.

Give youth the tools to succeed and they will rise to the occasion. Thank you to all who invested time, effort and financial support for this event. What an effective event and opportunity to showcase that youth can empower youth.

Saanich Youth Council ended its term with a bang recently by participating in a mock trial with Saanich souncil to celebrate their achievements.

Victoria Youth Council presented their project initiatives from this past year to Victoria council on May 5 to document and celebrate the accomplishments of CVYC, its partnerships and community involvement.

Both the Saanich and Victoria youth councils are recruiting members (ages 14-24) for September. Visit Saanich Youth Council at Facebook.com/SaanichYC.

 

Shae-Linn Davies is a Saanich News contributor and Grade 10 student in Reynolds secondary’s flexible studies program.