In the summer of 2007, the City of Dawson Creek British Columbia started a movement to engage youth in planning for the future. Many young people shared ideas, concerns, and visions and created a Youth Guide to help more young people join the effort.
“The city of Dawson Creek is going where few have gone before. It is looking to engage youth in all aspects of the City, not just where ‘youth’ seem to fit in now, but also where they will fit sometime in the future. It’s like the City is redefining roles, whereas young people may have been seen as being ‘on their way’ to being useful, now they are being seen as an important piece in the sustainability puzzle.”
With support from the City Council, the City held numerous workshops where youth engaged in photography projects, visioning, asset mapping, and many discussions about Dawson Creek’s future. During meetings with City Council members, youth were able to share the ideas that came out of these events; ideas that focused on how to make the City a better place for youth, improvements for future generations, youth engagement ideas, and how to build better relationships within the community. They identified areas where, currently, youth felt unsafe, and resources or services that would improve the city for them. The City hosted a “Youth Said” event featuring photographs and youth speakers, celebrating the City’s assets and visions for the future.
The youth of Dawson Creek also decided to make a Guide, a resource for young people who want to become more engaged in their community. Over 300 young people contributed to the guide, adding volunteer opportunities, recreational areas, youth organizations, schools, favorite restaurants, shops, and art centers. The guide includes tips for getting involved in the community including whom to talk to about an idea, how to promote your idea, and how to write an effective letter to government. This guide also celebrates the aspects of Dawson Creek that makes it a good city for youth, identified through asset mapping exercises.