In Vegreville, the innovative “Youth Making a Change” program is creating a new culture of volunteerism in the community. Funded by the local Rotary Club and coordinated by FCSS, the program is open to ten youth in grades 10 through 12 and offers six weeks of sessions in leadership training, community engagement, personal mission statements, conflict resolution, and public speaking—and finishes with a team building field trip.
At the end of the program, students match with a community Board through a ‘speed-dating’ event, and serve a term on their chosen Board. And because there’s often a generation gap when engaging youth in volunteer roles, this program also incorporates learning for the organizations—things like how to communicate with youth, and how to be an effective mentor.
“The feedback I hear from organizations is, ‘Wow!’”says Nadine Crain, Community Programmer at Vegreville FCSS. “This program builds capacity with youth, but it also offers existing organizations new perspectives and new ideas.”