The youth of Golden are stepping up in a way which gives them a chance to have their voices heard while at the same time building something for the next generation.
A few months ago, a group of adults and youth from the community got together and applied for a Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) grant.
On November 18, 2011, the group found out Golden was going to receive $100 000 over four years.
The Youth Action Group (Y.A.G.), made up of Golden Secondary students as well as one student from Lady Grey Elementary School meets once a week with co-ordinators, Monica De and Angie Mackinnon, to discuss ideas and talk to various members of the community to come up with a plan.
Students have joined the group and been enjoying their time learning about decision making processes and having a voice in the future.
“It was a chance to reach for the sky and dream about what we want instead of people telling us about what we can’t get,” said GSS grade 10 student Tristan Musick-Miller. He went on to explain the group is working for a better future for everyone in the town. “It is not only teenagers though. I think it will help many people by what we get done.”
Grade 12 student Kailyn Trask explained “It is a leadership opportunity to get involved. There was no limits. We could talk about any ideas and they would be considered. No one said things like we could never do that.”
All of the students interviewed realized that their goals may not be completed until after they have gone on to their own post secondary education outside the community. However the idea of creating something for the next generation was more important to them.
“I know that by the time the money gets used I will be long gone because I am graduating and leaving at the end of the year. It will be cool to know that I helped make a difference for the future teenagers in high school. Plus when I come back to visit I can look at it and think I helped make that,” Trask said.
One of the legacies the group is hoping to leave behind is that after they all graduate, more students will step up and continue what they have started which includes a hope of creating more things for the next generations.
Mackinnon said she was very proud of the whole group for what they have accomplished in such a short time and is looking forward to the future of the group. She said the reaction to receiving the grant was a positive one.
“I think they were pretty excited. I think it is great because now we can move ahead and make some things happen,” Mackinnon said.
Ted Horlor, who recently returned to Golden, saw the group as a great way to start getting involved in the community in a positive manner.
“With these young people, I find they are a diverse group who share ideas with one another. I also found that there were a couple of speakers who came in and planted seeds. You plant a seed in a young person’s head and you can turn a little idea into a huge idea. If you get five or six of them together…they run with it. It is refreshing to see the enthusiasm they have,” Horlor said.
Horlor explained that the students have taken to the idea that the group is about them and they have done an amazing job developing a plan and putting in the hard work to see it succeed. In attendance at the meeting on the Dec. 14 was the Mayor Christina Benty who raved about the success and drive shown by the group.
“I think that it is fantastic they’re thinking about what their contributions to the community can be and about how they can impact the life in the community,” Benty said. “The fact that they are actually thinking about a legacy is fantastic. It is quite telling about how engaged they are and how forward thinking they are.”
Right now no decision has been made on where the CBT funding will be spent but the group is hoping it will bring a place in Golden which is all inclusive and where the door will be open to everyone.