Summerland youth initiatives presented at provincial symposium

The success of the Summerland Asset Development Initiative has piqued interest from other communities.

The success of the Summerland Asset Development Initiative has piqued interest from other communities.

Earlier this month, members of the Summerland youth organization travelled to Burnaby to present at the B.C. Crime Prevention Symposium.

They were invited to speak about how the youth organization has helped to prevent crime and high-risk behaviour in the community.

While Summerland has had a low crime rate before the youth organization was formed, Laceydawn Loeppky, youth activities coordinator at the centre, said youth are avoiding dangerous behaviours.

“It prevents future high-risk behaviour,” she said.

Loeppky brought John Rousseau, an earlier Summerland Secondary School graduate, who spoke about how the organization helped him make wise decisions when he was in high school.

Another student, Haley Smed, in Grade 10, spoke about how the organization has helped her.

Loeppky said Summerland has worked to help youths to improve developmental assets, or qualities young people need to avoid risks and to thrive.

The message was well received at the symposium.

Loeppky said other communities are looking at following Summerland’s lead. In Merritt, organizers are working at starting a similar service for youth.

The success of the Summerland program speaks to the commitment of the community to its youths, Loeppky said.

“We’re fortunate people care so much about students that something like this would run,” she said.