One Local Youth among 18 in Alberta, Part of the Youth Advisory Panel
By Kaeleigh Pasula
The Youth Advisory Panel is a Government of Alberta initiative within the Human Services ministry that consists of 16-18 youth between the ages of 15 and 22.
Youth serve a one year term on the panel, and have many incredible opportunities- empowering the voice of youth, learning new skills, meeting new people, and so much more!
I was honoured to be selected among the 18 youth serving on the panel this year. Our first meeting was held March 1-3. As a panel, we are set to have four more meetings this year, at each of which we will be discussing important issues that are pressing youth and that youth have valuable input towards.
At our first meeting, we met with Minister Hancock to present the goals of the panel for the year, as well as the MLA who we will be reporting to- MLA Matt Jeneroux, of South-West Edmonton.
Later in the meeting, we were able to share opinions with the Environment and Sustainable Resource ministry, including Minister McQueen, to take part in just one of the many water quality discussions that have been held across the province recently.
Although the panel consists of a set number of meetings, there are also opportunities to attend events outside panel activities, which are possible thanks to being with such an elite group. YAP is the only youth panel like this one in the country, and the only youth group reporting to an MLA in the province.
I feel as though this opportunity is already life altering. When told I would leave the group as a different person, I never thought it could be so true. Being on the panel for just one short weekend thus far, I have new friendships, new perspectives, and a new sense of belonging with youth as passionate about social issues as myself!
As one of the most valuable opportunities I have been given, I truly praise the Government of Alberta and the ministry of Human Services for their recognition of the true value of the voice of youth. While my journey is just beginning, I already can’t wait to see what’s in store.
To read more about the panel and access biographies of the youth involved, visit this link:
Here is another link to checkout the Youth Panel: http://aesrd.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/youth-panel-joins-the-water-conversation/
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