Over the years, Summerlanders have held plenty of meetings, forums and discussions about how to help the youth of the community.
The most recent forum, held last week, brought around 100 people together, including an impressive number of youths.
In the late 1990s, similar meetings were held. A survey was also conducted to determine the state of the community’s youth and after the results were tabulated, some important changes were made.
For the next several years, there was a strong effort to work for the benefit of all youths in the community.
The most noticeable change was the creation of the Summerland Asset Development Initiative. Over the years, it has gone through a number of changes in its focus and in the way it provides support to Summerland’s youth, but throughout its existence, it has consistently provided activities and services for youths.
Last week’s forum could be seen as a refresher course of sorts. For those present, it was a motivational event and some good suggestions came out of the discussions.
Most of the suggestions were simple and could be implemented easily. They had more to do with talking to youth and getting to know them rather than providing buildings, facilities and services.
The simplest and most effective suggestion, repeated by many at the forum, was to talk with young people, get to know them and treat them with respect.
It is equally important for us as a community to understand the unique needs of our youth at present and to work with young people to develop initiatives as they are needed.
The enthusiasm which resulted from last week’s meeting is important.
Beyond this we need to continue talking with our youth to identify what they want and need.