Breaking News

HYAC gives Hinton’s youth a voice

Masha Scheele

Youth in Hinton are making their voices heard on important issues and plan to provide information for their peers on various online platforms.

Hinton Youth Advisory Council (HYAC) members, Lila Underwood and Ethan Jahnke, presented their vision and goals to council on Feb. 4. 

“I joined personally to be a fresh perspective for the youth of Hinton and represent a lot of things that I’ve personally experienced or my friends have,” said Underwood.

Jahnke added that he believes the opinions of youth are not adequately heard in the community and he hopes to represent the youth’s perspective. 

While they are both grade 11 students at Harry Collinge High School, their group is made up of students from different schools, grades, and friend groups.

“[Within] our youth council, we kind of have different voices. We’re all there for different reasons. I think it’s really cool for all of us to represent a different youth group in Hinton,’ said Underwood.

After being appointed to the youth council in October, they set their goals in alignment with their vision. 

Their aim is to expand information available to youth and increase well-being through the development of safe spaces and education to the public.

Their goals focus on providing information to and on behalf of  youth, youth programming, different languages, and cultural education.

“I feel like Hinton there are a lot of different cultures that are under appreciated and not a lot of education about them,” said Underwood. She added that for people whose first language isn’t English, it may be a struggle to find new opportunities or join activities.

HYAC hopes to teach about different cultures and languages to make newcomers feel welcomed and accepted.

“It’s really great to have that outreach if you’re new to town and you’re from a different culture,” said Jahnke.

The group also plans to create an Instagram account and a webpage during their upcoming meetings, as a way to connect with their peers and share what they’re learning.

Both students hope their peers reach out with issues or topics that are important to them.

They hope to be the voice for youth in Hinton when it comes to decision making in the community.

Other members are Hunter Laurila, Kadence Rogiani, Liam Baxter, Alex Gledhill, Trinity Aldridge, and Ella Kempin.

The group first met in November to set their goals and a second time in January when they toured the government centre, learned Robert’s Rules, and prepared their first presentation for council.

“I think [HYAC] is very important. We can’t be on the actual council so how would they know our opinions and our views and perspectives. It’s awesome to have this program, we can work directly with the council,” said Jahnke.

They’re both interested in learning how a real council meeting runs and appreciate the time leaders have spent with them.

“I had no idea how councils ran. Since I want to go into politics in my future, I think that it’s really cool that I already know now. I think it’s really cool that we’re learning how to be the voice of a group,” said Underwood.

“Politics is the big goal one day, future prime minister,” she said confidently.

Upcoming HYAC activities include volunteering, school presentations, cultural outreach activities and a booth at the Fohn Festival. 

Students are part of the youth council until September 2020, and receive a $500 bursary after completing the year as incentive for secondary studies.

Qualifications for the bursary, are actively participating in HYAC activities, attending at least five meetings, volunteering in the community at least four times, and enrolling in and paying for post-secondary studies upon graduation.

Their next presentation to council will be held in September.