A Councillor is banging the drum for Maple Creek’s youth.
Len Barkman has put forward the idea of a Youth Advisory Team to advocate for young people in the community.
He believes youth organizations in the town could be involved in the initiative – something, he said, Councillor Cara Teichroeb had suggested.
“Our youth have a lot to offer to our community and we need to engage them sooner than later,” he said at last Tuesday’s Maple Creek Town Council meeting.
“We want to try to get them to stay or come back. Many are already involved and we need to give them many more opportunities for them to be visible.”
Councillor Barkman’s comments came as he reflected on a meeting at the Armouries with a consultant from Saskatoon. The sessions were attended separately by businesses and Councillors from the Town and RM of Maple Creek.
The topic of youth involvement came up at the meeting.
“That’s something pretty close to my heart,” he said, adding that he had worked with young people for many years.
Councillor Barkman has worked with youth through churches and camps, and been involved in coaching as a referee for basketball at junior and senior high level.
“I know from what I’ve heard there have been things done in the past to get our youth in the community involved and we need to continue to do that,” he said.
He continued: “I think it would be great – and this is my own thinking here – if we could think about establishing a Youth Advisory Team that could make recommendations such as to what the needs of the youth are in the community.”
Councillor Barkman credited Councillor Teichroeb with suggesting that youth organizations could be invited to join the effort.
“I think it would be great to see what kind of interest there is.”
According to the 2016 census for Canada, said Councillor Barkman, there were 395 youths aged between 15 and 16 in the Town and RM of Maple Creek.
“That’s a substantial amount of our population. I think that we need to see what we can do to try involving them. I think that’s close to 20 per cent of Maple Creek’s population.”
Councillor Barkman said he was very thankful for those in our community that worked hard with youth – SRC (Student Representative Council), 4-H, church groups, and coaching mentors.
“We could name a lot of coaching mentors in many areas of sports – curling, hockey, figure skating, baseball, soccer, basketball,” he said.
Councillor Barkman also praised businesses that hired young people.
“I really like seeing our youth have opportunities in employment in our community. I see many businesses that are making that possible. I want to thank them for giving our youth that opportunity.”
He added: “I think youth in our community have a lot to offer our community and we need to see how we can continue to involve them to a greater extent.”