A Community Conversation with the Kitchener Youth Action Council

Submitted by chung.a@live.ca on February 11, 2013 - 3:54pm

I was introduced by my good friend Dianne from the KW Volunteer Action Centre about Tamarack's "A Thousand Conversations to Shape our Future" campaign and immediately thought of KYAC(Kitchener Youth Action Council). The council is composed of roughly 20 youth passionate about issues within the community and works to develop a voice for youth by organizing special events within Kitchener. I have been a member of the council since September and knew that KYAC would be a great place to host the conversation of community.

                                    

When asked about what their memorable experience of community was almost everyone began talking about large events in which a large number of people attend. The most common example was high school or university sports events like a football or basketball game. Other examples were more unique to our community such as the Largest Piknik event that the City of Kitchener held to try to break the world record. Canada Day, Oktoberfest and Multicultural festivals were also mentioned as we discussed memorable experiences. I found that the best and most commonly mentioned experiences were those that brought the larger community together to either celebrate or achieve something that affects us all. A memorable community experience for KYAC is one that everyone is a part of and no one is excluded from.

KYAC itself is a representation of our community, a group of passionate youth from diverse backgrounds that volunteer their time to help others and find solutions to issues to those in need. The opinions on why is community important reflects the multicultural society of Canada. Many members agreed that community is important because we're able to share ideas, cultures and gives each one of us a voice. We began talking more about how our meaning of family can extend beyond our relatives and into the community we live in, our neighbours, friends and people in the city are all in a way our extended family.

When talking about how to strengthen and deepen our sense of community, I had members talk about the importance of trust and helping others. As a volunteer council, KYAC members dedicate their free time to help the community and this is shown in their opinions and actions. A stronger community can be built by planning events that help minority groups in need, and the council already does this by example such as the Pride Prom that KYAC helps organize every year to give gay youth a prom without fear of being judged. Charity events, food banks and community centres were also mentioned as factors that can help bring a community closer together.

The Kitchener Youth Action Council provided some really positive opinions during the community conversation. In summary from this conversation it is believed that what brings a community together and makes it memorable is the comfortable fun events that brings everyone together. It's the trust and volunteers that help strengthen people's opinion of their community and the overall ability to accept and include people from all different backgrounds.

 

Comments:
Internet

Hi Anthony, I am super jazzed that your group held this conversation.  I am amazed to see how big picture you all look at community, it gives me hopw for the future of KW and beyond.  A question I have been bouncing around with groups of young people is the role that the internet is playing on reshaping our experiences of community.  What are your thoughts?  How is it helping?  How is it hurting?  What new opportunities now lay before us because of the internet?