YouthScape Gathering: Change Starts with Youth! When: November 26-29, 2009 Where: Inn at Laurel Point, Victoria, BC
From November 26-29, 2009, 50 individuals gathered in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, to celebrate the achievements of the YouthScape national initiative and engage young people, policy makers, educators, practioners and funders towards a common goal of advancing the YouthScape “community based. youth paced” movement. The Gathering was co-hosted by the International Institute for Child Rights and Development and LifeCycles.
The Gathering featured The Gathering featured:
Discussions about the principles and practices, reflex-ions, and Discussions about the principles ripples the YouthScape and of practices, reflex-ions,journey. and
ripples of the YouthScape journey
A Public Forum which created an A Public Forum whichcity created an opportunity for youth, opportunity for youth, councilors, practitioners,city councilors,funders, practioners, businesses, educators businesses, funders, educators and others to learn about what it and others to learn about what it means to engage youth in means to engage youth in community development through community development. This parallel learning circles in that included participation parallel discussed youth engagement learning circles that discussedin practice, funding youth initiatives, youth engagement in practice, andfunding storiesyouth from initiatives, youth. and stories from youth.
Youth Voice: A youth-led A youth-ledlinking presentation linking presentation the five the five YouthScape communities YouthScape communities together together through individual through individual community community recounts of their recounts of their triumphs and triumphs and challenges, as well challenges, projects and initiatives as, projects and initiatives that thatengage engage young people across young people across Canada. Canada
An open marketplace for participants to present An open marketplace forworkshops and discussion topics the five participants to present on workshops pillars of YouthScape: youth and discussion topics on the five leadership, learning community, pillars of YouthScape: youth diversity, engaging the leadership, learning community, unengaged and comprehensive diversity, engaging the Topics community initiative. unengaged and comprehensive the five pillars and linked together community asked theinitiative. importantTopics questions: where do we go from here?;how included: linking together the five people in our do lives become pillars – where wehave go from part of our learning community; here; how people in our lives have youth using leadership skills become part of our learning to create their own projects; and community; youth using many others.
leadership skills to create their own projects; and Safari manywhere others. An Urban Photo
participants explored Victoria’s rich culture and history as well as An Urban Photo Safari where local hotspots and YouthScape projects explored Victoria’s participants
rich culture and history as well as local hotspots and YouthScape projects. 2
Principles and Practices
There is always a unified goal and this goal does not exist in the problems of the project, it exists in the goodwill of the people that are willing to participate in the project. The most we can do about the problems of the world is excel above them and focus on our common goals of achieving something greater than currently exists. – Jake Valliant 3
Principles and Practices Day 1 Day’s Agenda:
Call to Action! Summing up the Parts Public Forum
After a quick introduction and overview of the agenda, the YouthScape participants jumped right into the first item of the Gathering – an ice breaker! Mike Sheehan and Tara MacDonald led the group through some getting-to-knoweach other activities and then it was down to business.
Call to Action! Hosted by Caitlin Schwartz and Mike Sheehan The Call to Action was introduced as a mechanism for creating a tool that grasps the concepts of YouthScape in a concise and creative manner to be shared with funders, educations, practitioners and many others. Ideally this will be used to expand the YouthScape movement and promote YouthScape values and dreams of a youth engaged Canada. The participants broke into groups to discuss ideas about possible mechanisms that engage people. They discussed questions and identified some of the following:
Question 1: What engagement mechanisms have worked in the past (to inspire others to become engaged with Canada’s youth movement)?
Safe and friendly spaces Creating a “therapeutic environment” Passion and interest Finding common connections Technological engagements Music, arts and culture Apparent transparency Effective communication tools Balance among different roles
Erasing the lines of power Engaging others based on their passions Focusing on development and growth Clarity of a shared vision Following up Making sure people stay engaged Team cooperation Sharing stories
Question 2: What are the most successful engagement strategies that you have used or participated in?
How can we mobilize our communities to take action?
Finding people rather than having people find you Engage others through heads, hearts, and hands Showing opportunities for adventures and travel Showing people that risks can be exciting Granting access to everyone
Ideas for a Call to Action:
A letter to the field - creating a type of letter that goes into our handbook but can be used by every individual to capture others’ interest in YouthScape Take our letter and change it into a spoken word poem Getting the tools needed to take all of the experiences of YouthScape and put them into some sort of database Marketing campaign - how can we create a marketing campaign to get us noticed? A video - something that will “kick down doors” and showcase YouthScape in a unique way that captures attention and causes positive reactions Youth awards - creating a way to highlight youths’ success stories who aren’t in the room
There needs to be a collective ownership where everyone is involved at all levels of discussion and decision-making. There needs to be something that provides a connection to the larger community – engagement cannot just be about the six people that are sitting at the table, it needs to be about every individual that is part of the project as well. – Marshall Williams
Summing up the YouthScape Parts Hosted by Natasha Blanchet-Cohen There is a reason why people get engaged in YouthScape. In the initial phases of the project, 24 communities across Canada applied for and were attracted to the proposal. What is it about YouthScape that gets people excited?
YouthScape is guided by 6 key ideas Comprehensive Community Initiative
Long-term relationships – multiple opportunities Requires quick “wins” to keep the momentum going Broad-emergent Opportunistic – involves multiple stakeholders Balloon effect/ spin off Bigger than just ‘a program’ Flexible – addresses the immediacy/ builds systemic action Passion of involved individuals Capacity building Providing support Access to resources
Difference is our biggest sameness Not applying labels Age is just a number Skin is just a colour Respect Inclusiveness
Seeking connecting and letting people know Sharing with friends and family Having a youth voice in all conversations Seeking out enthusiasm and following up on it Going out and finding connections not waiting for connections to find you
The process needed to engage youth in communities Building relationships and trust Sparking a revolution Engaging the unengaged Acting like an organization, thinking like a movement Youth and adults together Systems change
Breaking down barriers and stereotypes Real places and real power Building relationships with adults Sharing ideas Promoting individual strengths and growth
YouthScape Public Forum Change Starts with Youth!
The YouthScape Public Forum brought together approximately 80 policy makers, practitioners, funders and young people to discuss goals they all share in common regarding youth engagement. Questions such as “how are young people strengthening their communities” and “how can we advance a youth-centered movement” were asked. The Gathering was structured as:
Change Starts with Youth! (Opening remarks) o Philip Cook (International Institute for Child Rights and Development) o Ronnie Tadesse (YouthScape-Victoria Grantee) o Denise Andrea Campbell (City of Toronto)
Spotlights about YouthScape
Parallel Learning Circles
Panel Discussion Philip Cook
International Institute for Child Rights and Development
YouthScape – Victoria Grantee
City of Toronto
As the founder and Executive Director of the International Institute for Child Rights and Development, Philip Cook connected the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to YouthScape and Canada’s involvement in child rights and youth engagement. Philip asked the key question: How can we connect YouthScape’s movement to the global movement? He recognized that Canada has fallen behind in our commitment to upholding the Convention on the Rights of the Child and that we need to build on the innovation of youth engagement to address the problems facing the world. There are more than 2.2 billion young people in the world today and they are all beginning to hold governments accountable for their actions. He stated that YouthScape is not just about youth engagement – it is about putting youth at the centre of our society where they light a spark which creates a flame which becomes a fire in the rest of the community.
Ronnie’s involvement with YouthScape began in 2008 when she applied for a YouthScape grant for a project called the Age to Engage. The project took the form of a one day middle school youth engagement conference which gave youth the opportunity to learn about community activism and how it is never too early to become involved in one’s community. Ronnie recognized that for youth the idea always seems to be what do I want to when I grow up and instead it needs to be what do I want to do now. She believes the best way to solve local community challenges is to bring in youth perspectives because youth idealism is such a unique and valuable resource. She feels that it is able to grow and flourish before it becomes a narrow focus. “Adult ideas don’t grow – they turn into something that is doable whereas youth provide the needs and wants of communities. This is where YouthScape shines!”
Denise is a part of YouthScape’s National Advisory. She is currently the manager of Community Development for the City of Toronto. Denise pointed out that no matter what work you do, even if it is part of the non-profit sector, the government will still be involved in some capacity. Learning about what government does is important in providing social change. She reinforced the idea that it is of the utmost importance to make people realize that they can become engaged in community projects and that youth are part of the community, part of society, and therefore, part of the process. There is a need to shape an agenda that goes beyond young people. If we deal with youth engagement, we can deal with projects that affect the larger community. She believes that an important component of youth engagement is spaces and places; there needs to be some insurance that there are social spaces available for young people within their communities. 8
Spotlight Presentations on YouthScape’s Six Strengths
Youth Leadership To us, youth leadership is the opportunity for youth to take charge without having adults talking for them or telling them how to organize a project or idea. Youth leadership can help break down social and cultural barriers.
Learning Community Farmer Joe has a seed and the idea of planting a tree: this is how the learning community starts – with an idea and an initiative. The seed begins to grow with the rain (strength and passion), and the roots begin to form. A seedling is starting to sprout – it growths in faith and with persistence and eventually becomes a tree. A tree supports an environment where it is the ultimate place for people to listen and learn. It is never ending and continually produces seeds with become new ideas and new growths. From Farmer Joe to an entire ecosystem of life, the process is never ending.
Diversity You should not seek to judge me by the look of my skin You should not seek to judge me without looking within You should not seek to judge me before our journey will begin In fact, why would you seek to judge me?
Vision Close your eyes and imagine. Imagine acknowledging young people as competent and enthusiastic contributors… Imagine engaging youth in building and managing our communities… Imagine creating a society where the engagement of young people is an automatic reflex… Imagine igniting a spark in a youth… Now open your eyes ‐
what do you see?
Strength based By taking a strength based approach to youth engagement, officials can help youth develop the strong points of their ideas and use these ideas to develop a working project. Part of YouthScape is reaching out and creating themes.
Comprehensive Community Initiative This allows one to build a solid foundation of community allies – it is about making meaningful connections with community partners and stakeholders. Comprehensive Community Initiatives are diverse; stakeholders help identify opportunities and effect change in multiple systems.
The Public Forum was broken into four parallel learning circles
Youth Engagement in Practice – Hosted by Negin Naraghi, Victoria Immigrant Refugee Centre/LifeCycles Funding Youth Engagement – Hosted by John Cawley, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation Stories from Youth – Hosted by Che Kothari, Manifesto City Experience: Dorset Part and Toronto – Hosted by Denise Campbell, City of Toronto
The public forum really was about bringing people together to share their experiences on youth engagement. It created a bridge so we can learn from each other and find new ways to keep the YouthScape momentum going! - Caitlin Schwarz
Reflex-ion Day 2 Day’s Agenda:
Youth Voice Workshops/Open Spaces Call to Action: Take II Urban Photo Safari
The Public Forum left everyone buzzing with energy. Saturday was filled with enthusiasm as participants gathered for a morning ice breaker led by Thunder Bay. After a few tumbles and many laughs the YouthScapers grew thoughtful as they prepared for a full day of reflection.
Youth Voice: Presentations and Discussions Hosted by YouthScape Youth from across Canada Youth from all five YouthScape communities collaborated on a joint presentation where each community shared with their audience about what gets them excited about YouthScape. The young people spoke about their accomplishments and challenges, passions and joys, and their desires to change the landscape of community development in Canada.
Community Participants Hussein, Murtuza
Thunder Bay Chelsey,
Brittney, Matthew, Devon, Jake, Lisa
Ronnie, Sadaf, Matsuko, Ben
Transit Showcase Go-Grant Program Steering Committee What Could a Youth Centre do for you? Ready, Set, Renovate! Brother Comic Book Bridge Theatre Greenhouse Warriors Youth Mapping Café le Spot Youth led gym Marketing Committee Act out Series Africa Diaspora Association of the Maritimes Second Chance Program iUnique Legal Lit
Youth Development team www.youthcore.ca City of Victoria Youth Council
Youth-led, adult supported Encouragement and support Commitment Awareness Consensus Building Changing perceptions Pervasiveness Community Building
Creating places and spaces Providing resources for youth Community/culture building
Project active communities Inclusivity Engaging youth with Law Appreciating Differences
Respect and dignity across Sectors Youth from a youth perspective Strength Rights Approach Connecting youth and government 11
Workshops and Open Spaces Hosted by Marc Langlois The market place was an open area where “sellers” sold their open space discussions and workshop ideas. “Buyers” could shop for the project that best suited their needs. Some of the ideas that came through in the marketplace were:
Zine! Sarah from Hamilton taught eager artists the art of Zine-ing. This creative workshop crafted an eight page Zine that captures what it means to be a youth in Canada.
Circle of Awesomeness! Amy and Sam from Halifax created a reflective workshop based on the Circle of Awesomeness which includes sections on “Meaningful Contribution,” “Supportive Peers,” “Adventuresome Learning” and more. Amy and Sam encouraged group members to think of people who have influenced their lives in connection to the Circle.
Youth Engagement Funding John Cawley from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation discussed how youth are attracted to action and while it can be easy to be caught up in this excitement, funding organizations can easily shift from seeing authentic youth engagement to seeing token youth engagement. Projects need to ensure that they keep youth voices at the centre – funders need to be aware that youth are needed for social change and that they are the solutions , not the challenges, of engagement.
Working in Partnership Linking the Pillars The Victoria crew led participants through a whirlwind of activities that linked together the five pillars of YouthScape: youth driven granting, spaces and places, youth in decision making, working in partnership, and hiring youth staff. Activities included cupcake frosting – yum yum!
Che, a YouthScape National Advisor, and Josee, the Developmental Evaluator from Montreal led discussions on what it means to include adult allies in youth-led and projects and organizations. Che used his organization Manifesto as an example of how integrating both youth and adult ideas can only make an organization stronger and more powerful.
Starting a Project Hussein from Calgary led discussions on what it means to be a youth with a dream and how to see that dream can become a reality. Hussein talked about how the time is NOW, how starting small is key, and how nothing can happen without passion. Hussein has turned his dream into reality and launched Khorasan – an international book drive.
Call to Action – Take II The day wrapped up with a reflective session on the topic of Day 1: a Call to Action. With high hopes of producing something tangible from the Gathering, participants reflected on what a Call to Action would mean to them. The afternoon was filled with questions that required reflective thought.
Who are we producing this Call to Action for? How will we produce this?
Funders, youth, family centres, youth justice, media, school districts, city councils…
Face to face connections – a door crasher that can create allies within the framework you are trying to connect with.
What would you want to say in a Call to Action?
Foundations of YouthScape:
Something that shows the foundations of YouthScape, something that explains why youth engagement is an exciting adventure
Youth leadership Learning Clarity Comprehensive Community Initiative Diversity Vision Spaces and Places Youth Granting Youth Decision Making Partnerships Youth as Staff
Young people at the centre of YouthScape – this is the vision that has come forward. We as YouthScapers are visionary: we create ripples, we are strength-based, we have young people taking initiative, we are comprehensive and we create systems change. It’s now time for the rest of Canada to do the same. 13 ‐ Marc Langlois
Urban Photo Safari! Hosted by Victoria The Victorian co-hosts of the Gathering tested their fellow Gathering participants’ wits and navigation skills in an urban photo safari. Items to capture on film included street names, seals, violin playing Darth Vaders, clocks, art, city squares, cultural icons and Christmas trees! Teams were created and prizes were won – below is a photo gallery of this fun event!
Rippling Out! Day 3 Day’s Agenda:
Workshops/Open Spaces Call to Action: Wrap Up Closing Reflections
Sunday brought a close to the Gathering but participants were far from finished with their projects, activities and discussions about what comes after YouthScape, how to get there, and what expanding the notion of youth engagement can look like.
Workshops and Open Spaces & Call to Action Wrap Up Hosted by Marc Langlois Marc once again opened the marketplace for sellers and before long participants came forward to present their topics on youth engagement. Selling features included continuing discussions from Day 2 and chances to participate in new workshops and new conversations.
The themes of the Workshops and Open Space discussions revolved around: Youth Driven Granting Spaces and Places After discussions, Marc led the group through an insightful session where participants reflected on the impacts that the sharing created on themselves and their communities. Participants made connections between hands, hearts and heads and felt inspired to move forward with the Call to Action and YouthScape as a movement rather than just a project!
Youth in Decision Making Working in Partnership Hiring Youth Staff
Because I can see it happening across the national community, I can see that all youth have passion but that it is divided. We need to find these hidden movements and make them work towards a collective youth movement. -
Closing Reflections: Hosted by John Cawley and Elaina Mack The last item on the Gathering’s agenda was a review of YouthScape’s learnings, the national and funding commitments to the community partners, and a reflection on what the past five years of YouthScape has accomplished. Participants left the Gathering feeling inspired, encouraged, committed, and excited. YouthScape’s journey is not ending, it is simply the end of the initial project – youth engagement is something that everyone can achieve and is something that never ends. YouthScape has been funded by the J.W. McConnell Foundation and organized through the International Institute for Child Rights and Development; it began as a project, and resulted in a movement.
John Cawley J.W. McConnell Family Foundation We are trying to achieve social innovation through community based projects. The core of what we are doing might be through community development but in order to make grants successful, we need to include the following:
Gatherings to create and build relationships Leadership development Community support organizations Knowledge and communications Research Capacity Building Policy Advocacy
McConnell Vision for the Future:
Convening of organizations supported by foundations Leadership programs Knowledge and communications sharing Mentoring through systems support
YouthScape has inspired the McConnell Foundation to look at youth grants in a new light. We are looking to take the YouthScape values and infuse them into other programs that are currently adult led.
Elaina Mack International Institute for Child Rights and Development YouthScape Project Manager The ripples of YouthScape have resulted from stones that the IICRD threw into the pond of youth engagement. The ripples have grown larger than we could ever have imagined and we are excited to build on them. The IICRD is committed to:
Finishing the Handbook Supporting the Developmental Evaluation Guide Updating the Website Coordinating the Call to Action Video Continuing to influence national adult led organizations and government Sharing the ripples Integrating YouthScape into other projects
Continue with Growing up in Cities Case Studies Database Youth Impact Leadership Development Engaging with Aboriginal Youth Communities
IICRD has four main areas of focus – one of which is youth engagement. We do this internationally, nationally and provincially. We will continue this knowledge sharing. We are excited to stay 16 connected and to continue to share our lessons!
1. Amy Richardson 2. Ben Porcher 3. Brittney Marshall 4. Caitlin Schwarz 5. Che Kothari 6. Chelsey Johnson 7. Christine Battle 8. Denise Andrea Campbell 9. Devon Meekis 10. Elaina Mack 11. Elizabeth Dozois 12. Erica Gates 13. Hussain Khimji 14. Isabelle LeVert-Chiasson 15. Jake Valliant 16. Jess Wishart 17. John Cawley 18. Josée Latendresse 19. Joseph Boutilier 20. Katie Shaw 21. Lisa Lester 22. Lise Jean 23. Lloydee Chrispin 24. Marc Langlois 25. Marshall Williams 26. Matsuko Friedland 27. Matthew DeGagne 28. Michele Cook 29. Murtuza Sayeed 30. Natasha Blanchet-Cohen 31. Nastaisha Zimmerman 32. Nayani Thiyagarajah 33. Nesreen Ali 34. Penny Hume 35. Peter Papagiannis 36. Philip Cook 37. Pierre Boulanger 38. Ronnie Tadesse 39. Rose Nicholson 40. Sadaf Pourmand 41. Samantha Kent 42. Sandra Albertson 43. Sarah Bardwell
Halifax Victoria Thunder Bay Victoria Toronto Thunder Bay Thunder Bay Toronto Thunder Bay National Calgary Calgary Calgary Halifax Thunder Bay Halifax National Rivière des Prairies Victoria Victoria Thunder Bay Rivière des Prairies Rivière des Prairies National Halifax Victoria Thunder Bay National Calgary National Hamilton Toronto Hamilton Calgary Victoria National Rivière des Prairies Victoria Thunder Bay Victoria Halifax Thunder Bay Hamilton
44. Tamar Edmond 45. Tara MacDonald 46. Taryn Danford 47. Tassyana Mézilas
Rivière des Prairies Victoria National Rivière des Prairies
Sponsors YouthScape would like to acknowledge the following people for their support and contributions to the November 2009 National Gathering.
Heartwood: Halifax, Nova Scotia Boscoville 2000: Rivière des Prairies, Quebec United Way of Thunder Bay: Thunder Bay, Ontario Child and Youth Friendly Calgary: Calgary, Alberta LifeCycles: Victoria, British Columbia
YouthScape Learning Community: Youth Engagement and Action in Hamilton: Hamilton, Ontario
Event Sponsors and Organizers: J.W. McConnell Family Foundation The Canadian Commission for UNESCO International Institute for Child Rights and Development LifeCycles
National Partners: International Institute for Child Rights and Development: Victoria, British Columbia J.W. McConnell Family Foundation: Montreal, Quebec YouthScape National Advisors
- Thank You ~ Merci Beaucoup! 18
Published on May 5, 2010
The National Gathering connected youth and youth practicioners from all across Canada together over a 4 day conference held in Victoria, BC....