District of Squamish to adopt a Youth Strategy and to enter into MOU to operate a new Youth Hub

Youth Strategy at Nov 26 2019 COW

Some of the Squamish Youth Strategy participants in attendance at Council on November 26, 2019

In recognition of the vast contribution youth will have on Squamish’s future and the unique challenges today’s young people are facing, the District of Squamish Council has recommended the adoption of a new Youth Strategy, and to enter into a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with community partners to operate a new Youth Hub. The recommendations were put forth at the November 26, 2019 council meeting. 

“A youth strategy is both timely and necessary to recognize the growth in this segment of our population and the desire of young people to be involved in decisions that impact their future, to capitalize on opportunities presented through new facilities, and to add to the at-capacity programs currently in place,” says District of Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott. “This is about creating a meaningful way for our youth to thrive to their highest potential and be healthy, resilient and engaged community members.”

Over 20 young people and community partners took part in a presentation and discussion with Council at the November 26 Committee of the Whole, and highlighted the extensive collaboration that took place to ensure that this is a strategy for youth, by youth.

“The Youth Strategy reflects what we heard from hundreds of Squamish young people,” continues Elliott. “The result is a strategy based on their values and identifies actionable goals to improve facilities and programs, elevate youth voices and enhance partnerships between youth, caregivers, our partner agencies and the District.”

The comprehensive engagement identified four priority areas for the strategy - Speak Up & Leadership, Spaces & Places, Services & Programs, and Emerging Adults. The creation of a Mayor’s Youth Council is another recommendation to enable ongoing collaboration with the District and community partners on important initiatives such as the development of a new Youth Hub.

The new Youth Hub (The Hub) will be located on the ground floor of the Buckley Avenue Affordable Rental Housing Building, a 76-unit housing development that will be leased to Sea to Sky Community Services by the District. The Hub will be in close proximity to Howe Sound Secondary School, the skate park and transit. The District is working on a transition plan from the existing Youth Centre, which is nearing end-of-life.

The Hub will provide a combination of social, recreational, educational and clinical youth programming for young people aged 12-24. Most importantly, The Hub will provide a safe, non-judgmental environment for young people to find the care, connection, and support they need.

“We want to provide a space where young people in Squamish can feel safe to socialize, have a meal, develop job skills and connect with a trusted staff member if they are in crisis and need more intensive supports,” says Sea to Sky Community Services Executive Director Jaye Russell. “It will be a new model for services because it’s essential we innovate and integrate across health, education and social services. Young people need and deserve our best efforts.”  

A non-binding MOU solidifies a unique partnership between youth, District of Squamish, the Squamish Nation, Vancouver Coastal Health, Ministry of Children and Family Development and School District 48, and led by Sea to Sky Community Services who will develop The Hub.

Sea to Sky Community Services will also launch a $1.4 million capital campaign to secure funding for the new Youth Hub.  The opening of the new Youth Hub is expected in early 2021.

View the Squamish Youth Strategy

November 26, 2019

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