In response to one of my posts about visiting grade 6 students studying local government, a resident commented:
"Hmmmm, what could a civic election candidate possibly hope to gain, least of all votes, addressing such an audience? Makes her priorities suspect to me as a voter, not to mention a total waste of time."
It's a question I'm happy to answer.
These young residents are our future, and it warms my heart that they have teachers who take the time to invite candidates and elected representatives into their classrooms to speak about civic governance and community service.
The questions asked and concerns shared by youth are as valid as any adult asking questions at the many forums we attend, and they have perspective and honestly that is different from what any of our adult residents can offer. Their interest and thoughtful consideration of their questions and my answers makes me confident that we are in good hands.
In St. Albert, we are fortunate to have youth programs through BAM St. Albert Youth Asset Team, The Collective, our sports and arts groups, Northern Alberta International Children's Festival, and through countless volunteer opportunities. We also have opportunities for youth to serve the community through roles on the the Community Services Advisory Board (we'll need two new youth members soon!) and and we have the newly created St. Albert Youth Council to advise City Council on matters affecting youth. We rightly place a tremendous value on the voices of our young people.
Engaging with youth is never a waste of time, and I look forward to visiting many more schools in the years to come.