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North Oakville - Reflections on being a NOYDC Youth Council Member: What Adults Need to Know

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

By Lucy C.

August 26, 2019

Hey, my name’s Lucy and I have been on the North Oakville Youth Development Council (NOYDC) for 2 years. During that time, I have been involved with many community events and learned many leadership skills as well as gained confidence while sharing ideas. By being a council member I have gained many skills. Working as a team, I have learned to listen to other people's ideas and also share my thoughts and ideas. As well, I know more about community concerns and the importance of building a strong, welcoming and helpful community.

The NOYDC has hosted and participated in a lot of events to help build a caring community for youth. For example, we have done BBQs in the past and one of my favorites was the one we just had at the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre which was for National Youth Week. During the BBQ, many youths came and adults and even kids from the neighbourhood. We even had students from the local high school come out and share their knowledge about robotics. My role was to help out with the BBQ and make hot dogs, which I enjoyed. A bunch of kids came for seconds and thirds and I just loved seeing the joy on their faces when I passed them the hot dog.

“One thing that adults need to know to build better relationships with youth is to be open and share their thoughts with youth.”

Another event we did was a Youth Talks Hear Us Out event at the River Oaks Community Centre, where youth got a chance to talk to adults about what topics mattered to them. Our council worked as a team to help organize the event. Some members spoke about being on the council and even our town councillors Jeff Knoll and Mark Grant came to help set up and participate in the event. The events we have are always successful and allows for meaningful relationships to build.

One thing that adults need to know to build better relationships with youth is to be open and share their thoughts with youth. To build strong relationships we need to be able to pace ourselves and share when it's appropriate and at a level that is consistent with the depth of the relationship. A second thing is to speak to youth at your level so they don't feel demeaned or that you’re treating them like a kid. Finally, show that you’re interested in what he/she is saying because your attention is what he/she desires and is thrilled to receive.

Lucy is pictured with other member of the NOYDC at the Youth Week BBQ
Lucy (second from right) with NOYDC members.

Youth play a major role in community building, and building meaningful relationships is a way to encourage youth involvement. There are many of us and our thoughts and actions affect the future of our communities. As well, youth come from all different backgrounds. With this comes different life experiences and challenges. All youth need to be heard and can bring their life experiences into building a strong, diverse, and welcoming community. We all have different issues that we have to face and having outlets such as programs in the community can help youth to de-stress and feel important. Community activities can boost teenagers’ self-confidence and self-esteem. Youth can learn to deal with challenges and meet new people and build up her/his life skills in a supportive environment. *

Contact us to find out more about the work of the NOYDC.

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