If you are under the age of 18, the Children and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region (CYPT) wants to hear from you.
Because so many decisions are made for youth without their involvement, CYPT and their partners want to hear from them directly to get a better understanding of how they are really doing. Those between the ages of nine and 18 are being asked to give feedback on things important to their lives. Topics in the survey cover things such as how youth are feeling, what they are doing in their free time, and their thoughts on their school and the community.
The first survey of its kind in the country, this has been in the works for some time. Groups such as UNICEF Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Canadian Index of Wellbeing at the University of Waterloo have partnered with the CYPT to get the survey off the ground. They first started about six months ago by working within Waterloo Region asking youth for their input to put the survey together. Now, they are hoping for up to 300 participants to share their experience so they can shape the future for youth in the region.
“Essentially it’s a way to collect data and get the big picture on what is the youth experience in the region. It’s really exciting because this is the first of its kind in Canada, and this is an opportunity for you to directly provide input on future programming that’s going to occur in the Waterloo Region,” said Meena Waseem, a member of the Smart Cities Innovation Council.
“We’ve never had something like this where youth input is a direct way to make decisions on a central, mass scale. In the past, you might have organizations hosting working groups or workshops or collecting information through emails, but there’s never been such a mass effort put into a survey, even for some background.”
The survey not only offers youth a chance to have their voices and opinions heard, but also gives them volunteer hours for their participation. Those who complete the survey will receive one volunteer hour along with a chance to win a prize. There is also a feedback form that can be completed which will award participants an additional volunteer hour and 10 more chances to win a prize. In total the process will take about 35 minutes.
While this is currently in a pilot phase here in the region, Alison Pearson, manager of community engagement and planning with CYPT says other regions already want this tool for use across the province.
“There are other communities that understand and know this pilot work is happening and they’re already putting up their hands to say, ‘when can we get our hands on this tool we want to use it in our community also.’ So, as we think ahead to a next phase where it’s not just our community – as others are ready to implement it – I think there will be a high degree of eagerness in other parts of the province, for sure, and then throughout Canada, to have the chance to hear directly from young people who you know are the experts on their lives,” said Pearson.
The Youth Impact Survey will run until August 7. Click here to take part in the survey.