Vancouver City Council
Date: June 10, 2003
Author/Local: Debbie Anderson/6032
RTS No. 3291
CC File No. 4102
Meeting Date: June 26, 2003
Standing Committee of City Services & Budgets
Director of Social Planning
Civic Youth Strategy - Report Back on New Model of Youth Engagement and Pilot Project Implementation
A. THAT Council endorse the new model and implementation plan for the Civic Youth Strategy as outlined in this report.
B. THAT Council approve $173,100 annually for establishment of the Civic Youth Strategy Outreach Team positions, subject to classification by the General Manager of Human Resources, and program expenses:
One Full-time Youth Outreach Team Coordinator position @1 FTE
Auxiliary staffing for Youth Outreach Team @ 1.4 FTE
One temporary Part-time Social Planner I Position @ 0.6 FTE
Funding for 2003 of $158,100 is to be provided from Contingency Reserve and $15,000 is from existing Social Planning budget. Funding for 2004 and beyond of $173,100 is to be added to the Social Planning Budget without offset.
C. THAT Council request the Park Board, Vancouver School Board, and the Vancouver Police Board and other City departments to work with Social Planning to fully implement the goals of the Civic Youth Strategy.
D. THAT Council direct the Social Planning Department to report back annually on the progress and workplan for the Civic Youth Strategy.
GENERAL MANAGER'S COMMENTS
The General Manager of Community Services RECOMMENDS approval of A, B, C and D.
CITY MANAGER'S COMMENTS
The City Manager concurs with this report and notes that this report is coming forward in the context of future requests for funding for child and youth initiatives in the City including the Park Board's Olympic Youth Legacy request and Council's discussions to consider the reinstatement of the Child & Youth Advocate position. These latter initiatives deal more with enhancing service delivery, providing more opportunities for youth participation in recreational programs and providing advocacy across a broad age spectrum in collaboration with other civic boards.
Given there are many programs already being delivered city-wide for youth throughout the Park Board, Vancouver School Board and many other agencies, the focus of the Civic Youth Strategy is not on developing further programs. The purpose of the Civic Youth Strategy is to address how youth are engaged and involved, through face-to face outreach in the development of these programs, and in the ongoing business of the City. The Civic Youth Strategy will be working closely with the Park Board, Vancouver School Board and other relevant agencies to enhance the City's work for children and youth.
The City Manager notes that the Contingency Reserve is limited and, therefore, it is a question of Council's priorities and how Council would like to proceed with this request, noting that there will be requests from the Park Board and the Office of Cultural Affairs for the Olympic Youth Legacy Action Plan, and Council may wish to consider funding for further child and youth advocacy. In light of this, staff have proposed that the part-time Social Planner I position be temporary for one year until Council decides what additional resources may be required to address children and youth issues in the City.
Vancouver Civic Youth Strategy Policy
Council adopted the Civic Youth Strategy (CYS) in March of 1995. CYS includes a policy statement that commits the City to involving youth and youth-driven organizations as active partners in:
· the development, assessment and delivery of civic services which have direct impact on youth; and
· broad spectrum consultations and initiatives on civic issues.
The policy statement above ensures that all City departments work towards four key objectives:
· ensuring that youth have "a place" in the City
· ensuring a strong youth voice in decision-making
· promoting youth as a resource to the City
· strengthening the support base for youth in the City.
Vancouver Children's Policy
The Vancouver Children's Policy was adopted by Council on March 12, 1992. It is a statement of commitment to the children of Vancouver and includes: Children's Policy, Statement of Entitlements and an Action Plan.
The report summarizes the new model of youth engagement for the Civic Youth Strategy (Youth Outreach Team) and the implementation of the pilot project. The new model was developed following a review that was carried out in 2001. The pilot project has successfully met many of the challenges outlined by the CYS review. Through work on specific issues, staff have connected with a broad range of youth from diverse age groups, geographic and demographic communities. The latest research indicates that youth working face-to-face with other youth is the most effective model of youth participation. Noting that the purpose of the Civic Youth Strategy is to enhance effective youth involvement, rather than create new programs, the report also puts in context the complementary work including program and services for youth undertaken by other City departments and other youth serving agencies as appropriate. A proposed annual budget for implementation of theStrategy is included with a workplan for the next twelve months and a commitment to provide an annual progress report back to Council.
The main purpose of this report is to review the development of the Civic Youth Strategy, report back on the pilot project for the new model of youth engagement for the Strategy and make recommendations for it's on-going sustainability, including the approval of a twelve-month implementation plan and the establishment of a secure operational funding plan.
So What Does the City Do for Young People?
Although the Civic Youth Strategy defines "youth" as young people between 9 and 24 years of age, the new youth engagement model for the Strategy has targeted youth between 13 and 24. The Park Board's definition includes youth ages 8 to 18.
Although the Civic Youth Strategy is seen as an important initiative for the City's youth, it is important to also examine what the City is already doing for young people. The City supports youth in 4 ways by:
· providing direct programs;
· planning for youth services in concert with other funders and service providers;
· providing targeted support for specific youth populations through a combination of grants and staff time;
· engaging and consulting with young people in decisions that affect them.
The City has provided direct programs for youth for decades through the Park Board and Community Centres. Community Services Grants for youth services have been in place since the 1950's and planning for youth services, such as the Spring Street project which intervened with at-risk youth, began with the formation of the Social Planning Department in 1968. In the past decade, the City has demonstrated an increasing commitment to children and youth, with the development and approval of the Children's Policy and the Civic Youth Strategy.
Providing Direct Programs
There are a number of City departments that provide direct programs and services to youth.
The Vancouver Park Board has a mandate to provide services to youth in the City. These services include direct program delivery, facilities and leadership development. Youthprogramming falls under the categories of sport and fitness, performing/creative arts, social activities, outdoor recreation and leadership development and takes place throughout the city at neighbourhood community centres, pools and rinks. To ensure that young people have safe and accessible venues in which to participate, the department provides indoor and outdoor facilities including teen rooms, gymnasiums, ice rinks, pools, playing fields, tennis courts and skateboard parks. The design and development of these facilities are in consultation and partnership with community and city-wide groups.
As part of the leadership development provided through Community Youth Workers, the Park Board is increasing youth capacity to contribute to local recreation services. Youth are supported and encouraged to be involved in the decision-making process. Through this component of work, the department facilitates the development of youth voices and participation in other community affairs which have an impact on the leisure lives and lifestyles of community members of all ages.
The Park Board department coordinates and implements youth recreation services and facilities based on the following principles:
· services should be preventative;
· services should be community based;
· education, health and recreation are essential components within the service delivery system;
· services should be cooperative, collaborative and multicultural;
· services should be designed in partnership with youth.
The approved budget report for 2003 alerted Council to Contingency Reserve funding for the Olympic Youth Legacy Action Plan. The Vancouver Park Board and the Office of Cultural Affairs will be submitting proposals for implementation in the coming weeks. There are some natural linkages between these initiatives and the work of the Youth Outreach Team, including the provision of guidance and advice on how to meaningfully and effectively consult and involve youth in the planning and implementation of the project, as well as providing youth peer support and joint outreach.
Youth Service Planning
The Social Planning department provides leadership in the City for a number of initiatives that support the planning of youth services. The Child and Youth Social Planner works with
community partners, other levels of government, and youth themselves, to identify and address needs and gaps in the youth services continuum. Recent projects include:
· Participation at the Youth Funders Table (a network of funders from the three levels of government and major foundations) to develop an inventory of funded youth programs and services in Vancouver. This information will provide a basis for future service planning and coordination.
· Supporting the development and ongoing sustainability of the new "hub" model of youth service delivery to provide a "one stop shop" approach for youth to access a diverse range of programs including employment, education, peer support programs, health services, and program referrals. Specific projects include:
· Supporting the development of a new home for the co-location of the Dusk to Dawn Street Youth Resource Centre and Street Youth Services.
· Planning with other funders to address the on-going financial challenges that are affecting the viability of the Broadway Youth Resource Centre.
· Supporting the development of a new youth services hub in South Vancouver.
· Participation at the youth table of the Windows of Opportunity process to help strengthen the network of youth service providers and take collective action on city-wide issues.
· Member of the Social Planning Department Community Services Grants Team that recommended funding for the Environmental Youth Alliance and the Self Help Resource Association to help strengthen the capacity of youth driven organizations and the youth community.
Targeted Support for Specific Youth Populations
In the late 1990's, the Park Board and the Social Planning Department met to discuss and agree on what role each would take in the funding and delivery of targeted youth services in the City. The Social Planning department, through the Community Services Grants program, provides additional support by funding community agencies to do work in higher risk population-specific youth communities. Social planners also work with these community agencies to further support programs and services for street youth, homeless youth, immigrants and refugees, Aboriginal youth and other groups. The Park Board's mandate is to deliver programs and services for youth in their local neighbourhoods through community centres. Current work by the Social Planning department in this area includes:
· Aboriginal Youth
Working with the Urban Native Youth Association in the development of a new permanent site for their organization. Social Planning staff are also a partner in the development of the Aboriginal First Youth Recreation Program to provide First Nations youth with social recreational opportunities and activities.
· Street Youth Issues
Working with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and other community partners on the Methamphetamine Response Committee to address the increased use of crystal meth among street youth. This involves the development of a comprehensive strategy including crisis intervention, long-term treatment solutions and prevention and education programs.
Staff have also been meeting regularly with the Downtown South Youth Service Providers Network, Dusk to Dawn and Street Youth Job Action staff to support their efforts to address a number of other issues including access to public toilets, violence and safety concerns, gaps in addictions and mental health services and lack of affordable housing.
· Youth Homelessness
City staff are working in collaboration with the GVRD Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness and its Youth Subcommittee to complete the youth section of the Regional Homelessness Plan by conducting focus groups with young people to gather their input. Housing and Social Planning Staff are also meeting to develop a list of City priorities for youth housing.
· Immigrant and Refugee Youth
Collaborating with Park Board, School Board and staff from SUCCESS to initiate a research project that will identify any specialized needs and subsequent social support programs to enhance the integration of older youth from China and their ability to make this important transition.
· Funding for Priority Youth Issues
Providing funding through Social Planning's Community Services Grants Program to agencies that address high priority youth issues such as youth violence and early intervention support for underage youth involved in criminal activity.
Engaging and Consulting Youth: A Brief History of the Civic Youth Strategy
During the 1990's the Park Board and local community centre associations significantly enhanced their services to youth by more than doubling the number of Community Youth Development Programs and Youth Worker staff across the City. This expanded commitmentto youth meant that they now had many more places in the City where they could go to access social recreational programs with qualified staff who specialized in working with an adolescent population. Although these new programs provided opportunities for youth to learn leadership skills and have influence over local community centre programs and services, there were still very few opportunities for youth to get involved in matters that affected them at City Hall. The City's efforts to include young people in the development, assessment and delivery of civic services and participation in consultations began in 1995 with the approval of the Civic Youth Strategy.
The work of the original Civic Youth Strategy involved contributions from many partners who contributed a unique set of assets to make the City a better place for children and youth. By 1999, a number of changes had occurred across the landscape of child and youth advocacy within the City of Vancouver, service provider networks and the youth community. Since the Civic Youth Strategy was identified as an important policy area for the City of Vancouver, it was decided that an independent review should be undertaken to revitalize the work and explore new mechanisms for youth engagement. There were three steps in the review process:
1) In 1999, Social Planning hired a consultant to conduct a review of Social Planning positions related to children and youth. The review concluded that a more coordinated, team approach was needed to address children, youth and family issues in Vancouver, and an evaluation of the Civic Youth Strategy was recommended.
2) During the summer of 2001, a second consultant reviewed the Civic Youth Strategy policy statement. Although the review concluded that the Strategy contained impressive and worthwhile objectives, some key challenges were identified, and recommendations made for a new model. Key recommendations included:
· Be more inclusive of a broader range of youth (both geographically and demographically);
· Better promote the Strategy to address the fact that many youth in Vancouver were unaware of its existence;
· Improve communication, role definition and relationship building between youth, City staff, Council and CYS core partners (i.e. Vancouver School Board);
· Clearly identify annual objectives and outcomes; and
· Address long-term sustainability.
A full copy of the Yates/Thorn report is available from the Social Planning Department or the City website at:
3) The next step involved developing a new model for the Civic Youth Strategy that addressed the concerns identified in the review, and that could complement the variety of youth-run initiatives in the City that had come into existence since 1995. In October 2001, a young person with relevant community and youth experience was hired to work with the Child and Youth Social Planner to develop this new model. Several factors informed the development of the new model:
· Analysis of the changes in the youth landscape;
· Further consultations with individual youth, youth driven and youth serving organizations, CYS alumni, and City staff from various departments;
· Research from the National Centre for Excellence on Youth Engagement, and
· Analysis of other municipal youth engagement models.
Council approved the implementation of the new CYS model in April, 2002, and a pilot project began to demonstrate how the City could improve the way that the City connects with and involves young people.
The details of the new model described in the 2001 report to Council can be found at: (http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/020423/A12.htm).
Highlights of the New Model
The Youth Outreach Team (YOT) is the key element in the new model of youth engagement for the Civic Youth Strategy. The Outreach Team consists of three youth hired as City staff (in June, 2002) and one part-time Social Planner to coordinate and implement a series of projects, activities and initiatives to engage youth, City staff and community groups in collaborative efforts to meet the goals and objectives of the overall CYS policy. The Outreach Team positions were funded through existing Social Planning funds and the part-time Social Planner position was funded through short-term savings in the Social Planning budget.
The Team was created to give youth a voice and enhance service delivery by:
· providing expertise to City staff around youth engagement to programs and projects that have a mandate to engage citizens including youth,
· acting as a bridge between City staff and youth community organizations,
· functioning as "guides" for youth to understanding and accessing the municipal "system",
· convening youth and City staff to address issues or working on projects of mutual interest.
In addition, an advisory group known as the Community/City Support Network met four times to provide feedback on the goals, objectives and priorities of the Youth Outreach Team over the course of the pilot project.
Guiding values and principles include:
· All citizens (particularly youth), have something to contribute (asset based approach);
· Building face-to-face relationships between youth, adults, community groups and city staff, is a powerful tool for social change;
· Partnerships and collaboration lead to better, stronger community programs and a more efficient use of scarce resources; and
· Involving youth experientially through action based community projects is an effective way of engaging youth in civic issues.
Throughout the pilot phase of the new model, selection of projects was guided by issues identified in previous youth consultations (i.e. the Police Youth Relations Initiative), as well as emerging opportunities (i.e. Civic Elections, Graffiti Management, 2010 Olympic Bid). In addition, relationships with community organizations, such as Environmental Youth Alliance, have led to the identification of potential collaborative work such as joint presentations to organizations including the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and Habitat III, and co-producing a youth publication.
During the eleven-month pilot project, the Youth Outreach Team worked in four areas:
· Civics Awareness and Education
· Community Building and Celebration
· Youth Involvement in Civic Issues
· Communications and Core Activities
The following areas will provide a snapshot of some of the work completed during the pilot project. For a complete summary of the work of the Youth Outreach Team, refer to Appendix A or go to www.vancouveryouth.ca.
Civics Awareness and Education
The CYS review and the City's Public Involvement Review noted that there is a need to create opportunities for children and youth to learn more about how civic government works, how it affects their lives and how they can contribute to the sustainable development of theCity. Main activities in this area included collaboration on the City's new Graffiti Management Program, providing outreach and education to youth for the last civic election and supporting the implementation of the City's Civics Curriculum in schools.
Community-Building and Celebration
Numerous youth consultations identified the need to spend time on initiatives that bring communities together to support and celebrate youth. This includes working with program partners to create opportunities to recognize, acknowledge and value youth achievements. The Youth Outreach Team worked on several projects in this area including support for the City's 8th annual Youth Week, hosting a large youth event in City Hall and providing support to the emerging Park Board Youth Council.
Youth Involvement in Civic Issues
Hands-on involvement in civic issues has always been a trademark of the Civic Youth Strategy. The Youth Outreach Team encourages youth to get involved in civic issues through the municipal system itself, with City staff, and/or through projects and programs initiated by community partners. Opportunities were created for youth to begin dialogue with the Vancouver Police Department to improve police-youth relations. The Team also facilitated the development of a Youth Engagement Strategy for the 2010 Olympic Bid. Youth were connected and supported to participate in a variety of City Planning initiatives including the Renfrew Collingwood Community Visioning Process, the redesign of Granville Mall and input into the Woodwards Ideas Fair. There have also been recent discussions with the Environmental Youth Alliance to explore piloting, evaluating and showcasing different models of youth engagement with the University of Victoria, the Union of BC Municipalities, and the National Centre for Excellence on Youth Engagement.
Communications and Core Activities
Implementing a youth engagement initiative requires work that does not fall into any one particular category, but without it, very little can actually be accomplished. The first step was to initiate discussion and develop relationships with staff from different City departments who expressed an interest in involving youth, or whose work might be of interest to youth and youth groups. There was significant interest by staff from many departments to try things differently or at least open the door to having youth involvement in their projects and initiatives. There is now a backlog of requests for the Youth Outreach team to meet and work with staff on a variety of issues and projects. Numerous hours were spent on activities including outreach and education to over 1,700 youth and 80 different groups from all over the City including youth in schools, community centres, ethno-culturalgroups, young moms group, street youth, Aboriginal youth, and youth driven organizations. The Team also designed, developed and published new communication tools including the City's youth website that can function as a hub for youth issues, job postings, volunteer opportunities and provide relevant City information (www.vancouveryouth.ca).
Youth Outreach Team Pilot Project Summary
The pilot project has successfully met many of the challenges outlined by the CYS review. It has also clearly demonstrated an effective model to carry out the City's commitment to involving and engaging young people in the development, assessment and delivery of civic services which have direct impact on them as promised in the Civic Youth Strategy policy. Through face-to-face outreach and work on specific issues (Elections, Graffiti Management, Civics Education), CYS staff have connected with a broad range of youth from diverse age groups, geographic and demographic communities. The Youth Outreach Team has also developed a new youth web portal and a civic youth newsletter - Youth in the Hall. Through this work the Team has started to address the need to be more inclusive and better promote the Strategy. Also, recognizing the Youth Outreach Team's role as guides to the municipal system, CYS staff have connected with staff from many City departments to lay the foundation for ongoing youth involvement in civic work.
During the course of the pilot project, the Child and Youth Social Planner provided mentorship and intensive supervisory support to the Youth Outreach Team. This work was supported by the part-time Social Planner I (1-2 days a week) who had been brought in to help develop the pilot model after the Yates/Thorn Review. In addition to supporting the work of the Youth Outreach Team, the Child and Youth Social Planner continues to address a range of child and youth issues including citywide service planning and meeting the complex needs of specific youth populations. One example of this includes work with street involved youth and service providers in the Downtown South to address issues related to homelessness, crystal meth use and the development of a new home for Dusk to Dawn Street Youth Resource Centre.
One of the major challenges relating to the implementation of the pilot project was the limited budget for the Youth Outreach Team. Initially the Team began with a budget of $15,000 for three contract positions - a Coordinator at 25 hours/week and two Team members at 15 hours/week. By December, the City and the Union had converted the contracts into auxiliary staff positions, which had challenging implications for financial sustainability. To ensure that the project could continue, wage top-ups were provided through one-time year-end funds from the Community Services budget. The part time Social Planner I position supporting the Civic Youth Strategy was also funded on an interim basis through vacancy savings in the Social Planning budget. This piecemeal approach to funding is unsustainable.
The second major challenge was the limited number of staff hours affordable within the existing CYS budget. While a number of projects have been successfully completed (i.e. 2010 Youth Engagement Strategy, Elections Outreach, website launched) several are still underway (i.e. Police/Youth Initiative, Civics Curriculum, and plans for youth engagement with UBCM). As relationships with community youth groups and City staff develop, possibilities for new partnerships are constantly emerging. The pilot project clearly demonstrated that the number of hours allocated for the 4 positions was insufficient to capitalize on the overwhelming number of opportunities that arose.
The depth and breadth of the work also meant that increasingly large proportions of the time of the Child and Youth Social Planner went towards supporting the Youth Outreach Team instead of other initiatives related to city-wide service planning and supports for specific youth populations. Having an additional part-time Social Planner position staffed by a youth with youth community development experience has proven invaluable (although challenging with limited hours).
In order for this work to continue and to achieve its full potential, adequate and sustained resources are essential. While many municipal youth engagement models rely on youth to volunteer their time, skills and abilities, research shows that this often leads to high youth turnover, burnout, and difficulty implementing longer-term, multi-stage initiatives. The new model addresses these challenges by taking the innovative step of hiring youth as City staff. This model sends a message that youth are valued for their skills, knowledge and abilities, and supports youth involvement as active partners in City business. The remaining challenge for the City will be to continue the commitment to having youth fill these positions and provide ongoing opportunities for young people to learn and share their knowledge and expertise.
Given the demand and potential for this project, it is recommended that the staffing levels for the Youth Outreach Team be augmented to support:
· One full-time Youth Outreach Team Coordinator (35 hours/week)
· Auxiliary staffing for Youth Outreach Team (auxiliary staffing hours up to 50 hours/week to enable a number of youth to be hired for a variety of projects)
· One part-time temporary Social Planner I (21 hours/week). This position is being recommended for one year given that there may be an overlap with any further staff support for children and youth.
Anticipated Twelve-month Workplan
(A) Continue to develop projects and initiatives linked to four areas of work:
Community-Building and Celebration
· Explore joint programming possibilities with the Park Board Youth Council, the Vancouver School Board's District Student Council, Youth Driven Youth Action Coalition, etc.
· Promote youth as a resource through events that highlight youth accomplishments (i.e. Youth Week Awards).
· Work with the Park Board and School Board to address long term sustainability and support for Vancouver's Youth Week.
· Promote opportunities for youth to become more involved in their local neighbourhoods.
Youth Involvement in Civic Issues
· Establish the police/youth working group and implementing a youth led consultation on police youth issues.
· Work with City Plan staff to use youth friendly consultation tools (i.e. community asset mapping), to engage youth in neighbourhood community visioning processes.
· Develop mechanisms to enable youth to work with the Youth Outreach Team to identify, prioritize and take action around civic issues through specific working groups.
· Work with the Park Board to explore ways to support the implementation of the Olympic Youth Legacy Action Plan.
· Adapt and pilot the Civics Curriculum, in partnership with Vancouver School Board staff and community organizations.
· Continue to outreach to a range of youth across Vancouver using a variety of tools and techniques (i.e. those identified in UNESCO's Growing Up in the Cities Project) to engage youth in discussions about the civic system and civic issues.
· Encourage youth to learn about civic processes through participation in specific working groups (as outlined above).
· Raise the profile of CYS work, and that of various community partners via the website, publications, presentations at conferences, etc.
· Continue to build relationships with City staff, Vancouver School Board, community groups, and youth around Vancouver.
· Continue to ground CYS work in cutting-edge research and best practices.
· Add more youth information layers to VanMap.
(B) Strengthen the support base for youth in Vancouver, in partnership with the Child and Youth Social Planner:
· Participate in the youth component of the Windows of Opportunity Initiative, supporting youth service providers to collaboratively address city-wide youth issues.
· Work with the Youth Driven Youth Action Coalition of the Environmental Youth Alliance, the kinex youth team of the Self Help Resource Association, and other community youth groups to strengthen youth-driven organizations.
· Partner with Park Board and School Board to develop mutual supports and a common set of guiding principles with the respective youth bodies (Vancouver District Student Council, Park Board Youth Council and Youth Outreach Team).
In order to fully implement the project, it is proposed that funding for 2003 of $158,100 is to be provided from Contingency Reserve and that $15,000 is from existing Social Planning budget. Funding for 2004 and beyond of $173,100 is to be added to the Social Planning Budget without offset. This will fund a part time Social Planner I, a Youth Outreach Team Coordinator and auxiliary staff for Youth Outreach Team ( to allow youth to be hired for a variety of projects over varying lengths of time) and related program expenses. The positions are subject to classification by the General Manager of Human Resources. The breakdown is as follows:
· One Full-time Youth Outreach Team
Coordinator position @ 1 FTE $46,800
· Auxiliary Youth Outreach Team staffing
@ 1.4 FTE $54,300
· One Temporary Part-time Social Planner I Position
@ 0.6 FTE $37,500
· Program expenses $34,500
This project is only one of three child and youth initiatives (CYS Youth Outreach Team, Park Board Youth Legacy Action Plan and further child and youth advocacy). Therefore, should Council approve all three initiatives, the funding requirements will be $457,400 for 2003, and $523,100 for 2004 and beyond (potentially less the $ 37,500 for the temporary Social Planner I position).
After significant community consultation over the last three years, the City has now completed an eleven-month pilot implementation phase for the new model of youth engagement for the Civic Youth Strategy. The Youth Outreach Team coordinates and implements a series of programs, activities and initiatives by which to engage youth, City staff and community groups, to meet the goals and objectives of the Civic Youth Strategy policy. The model clearly demonstrates its effectiveness in carrying out the City's commitment to involving young people in the development, assessment and delivery of civic services which have direct impact on them, an important initiative as noted in the Mayor's Inaugural Address. Council is asked to endorse this new model and provide an additional ongoing $158,100 in 2003, and $173,100 in 2004 and beyond, to fully implement and build on the strong foundation set out during the pilot project.
* * * * *
Youth Outreach Team Projects
(A) CIVIC AWARENESS
Graffiti Management Strategy
· Partnered with Engineering department's Graffiti Management Program to bring youth perspective and expertise in developing school-based presentations on graffiti.
· Developed and piloted i) interactive presentations for grade 6 and 7 students, that promote legal alternatives to graffiti and ii) discussion oriented presentations for grade 8, 9 and 10 students.
· Presentations at 12 schools and 25 classes.
Elections Youth Outreach Team
· Worked with both, the City Clerk's office and Community Partners, to increase voter turnout and actively engage youth in the last civic election.
· Created a Civic's Education Workshop to show links between youth's daily lives, the Capital Plan and how it affects them.
· Took part in the City's media campaign through radio interviews, the official media launch, greater.vancouver, mainstream newspapers and local alternative youth media.
· Conducted outreach to over 60 organizations and over 900 individuals. Outreach included distribution of materials, conducting issue specific workshops and mobilizing organizations to do the same in their own networks/communities.
· Invited by the City's Public Involvement Coordinator to help pilot the City's Civics Curriculum.
· Provided a workshop for VSB teachers. Interested teachers had the opportunity to review the curriculum, make suggestions and indicate how they would like to be further involved.
· Convened partners in the youth community to share ideas and resources around what an ideal civics initiative would look like, and what role the civics curriculum could play.
(B) COMMUNITY BUILDING AND CELEBRATION
"In the Mayors Chair" ~ Dec 3, 2002, Event
· Celebrated mutual achievements, mixing informal education with community building and making City Hall more accessible.
· Unmasked the facelessness of City employees, allowing the youth community to feel connected to people who can help bring about their ideas. (i.e. VanMap staff and staff from City Information Technology who have helped create the youth layer on Van Map).
· Convened an initial planning meeting with youth driven and youth serving organizations.
· Hired a coordinator for Vancouver's Youth Week.
· Participated in the planning of Youth Week.
Parks and Recreation Initiatives
· Participated in the Vancouver Coastal Health's Nights on Knight initiative to make youth health services more accessible and youth friendly. Working with this existing community group and Park Board staff to initiate dialogue on late night recreation in South Vancouver.
· Providing support to the emerging Park Board Youth Council as they begin developing their goals, objectives, structure and values.
· Ongoing relationship building in an attempt to strengthen and unify the three youth "bodies" in the City: Vancouver District Students Council (VDSC), the Park Board Youth Council (PBYC), and the CYS Youth Outreach Team (YOT).
· Participated in Park Board staff workshop to start planning for the Mayor's Olympic Youth Legacy Program.
(C) YOUTH INVOLVEMENT IN CIVIC ISSUES
· In partnership with youth consultants, developed a Youth Engagement Strategy for the Bid Corporation to guide the development of meaningful youth consultations and enable meaningful youth involvement in decision-making in OCOG.
· Wrote a youth specific addition to the Inclusive Intent Statement that was incorporated into the Vancouver's Olympic Bid Book. ( Partners: Bid Ambassadors, City Staff, Bid Staff, youth groups).
· Supported this multi- partner initiative to explore innovative ways to engage youth in discussions about their communities (Partners: Planning Department, Windermere Secondary, Collingwood Neighbourhood House, Youth Community Asset Mapping Team , Society for Children and Youth, CRYME team).
· Youth produced data about their neighbourhoods for the City's Planning Department, for Collingwood Neighbourhood House and for Renfrew Community Centre.
· Work with Planning/City Plan to explore creative youth engagement programming in future visioning projects.
Guides to the System
CYS connects youth, youth driven and youth serving organizations with information about the city and city staff with whom they can work with on specific projects. CYS connects these same youth and youth organizations with information and networks in the youth community. Examples of youth and youth organizations using CYS as a resource are:
· Linking with a youth from Armenia who wanted to build relationships with municipal youth engagement programs in Canada.
· Providing advice and facilitation support to the recently founded Park Board Youth Council.
· Providing a youth coalition with access to City Celebration Grant information for the development of a youth festival.
· Explaining to representatives from a Boys and Girls Club youth forum how they can present their findings to the Park Board.
Police-Youth Initiative (to date)
Since June of 2002, CYS staff have been building relationships with the VPD to lay the foundation for a series of activities to strengthen current police programming, reduce police-youth conflict and enable collaborative programming to address key issues youth face around crime and victimization. This relationship building has already led to:
· Two Youth members being appointed to the Diversity Advisory Committee (reports to Chief of Police).
· Police buy-in to the establishment of a Police-Youth Working Group that will be an ongoing mechanism through which police and youth can troubleshoot problems and collaboratively address key priorities.
· CYS looking to find ways to fund Phase I of the working group: a comprehensive, youth led consultation on crime, crime prevention and police youth relations.
· Police Youth Relations initiatives from around the world.
· Models of youth engagement for municipal governments such as the Toronto Youth Cabinet, Langley Township Youth Council, etc.
· Late night recreation programming from other municipalities.
(D) COMMUNICATIONS AND CORE ACTIVITIES
Customized Workshops on Civic Issues
In response to requests from groups of youth around the City, designed interactive workshops that engage youth in discussions about civic issues ranging from the City's Capital Plan to youth violence. Also provided education around the role of both City Departments and community organizations in addressing civic issues.
Consultants on Youth Engagement
The YOT was available to various City Departments to help them identify effective tools and mechanisms by which to engage a broad range of youth meaningfully in decision-making within their department or program.
Web & Print Based Communications
Developed tools to educate, communicate and inspire youth engagement including:
Information flow in Vancouver's youth community is fragmented and youth face challenges in getting involved. Developed a new web portal (www.vancouveryouth.ca) to help youth to:
· become more familiar with the work, mandate and values of CYS.
· get involved with working groups set up by CYS.
· become aware of the range of youth organizations doing grassroots community development work in Vancouver.
· access/learn about job postings, volunteer opportunities, events, training opportunities etc.
Youth in the Hall was published in December 2002 to highlight the work of the YOT and our City/community partners and to celebrate our existence as a unique entity.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
In partnership with the City of Vancouver's IT department and the Youth Community Asset Mapping program of the Environmental Youth Alliance, developed the first "youth layer" on VanMap identifying youth driven organizations.
Convenors of City / Community Partners
The CYS has a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the City and work being done on civic issues by youth and adults in the community. As a result, much work lies in convening different partners who might benefit from collaboration and shared dialogue.
Guides to the Municipal System for Youth and Community Partners
As a bridge between very different worlds - civic government, life as a youth, and the non-profit sector. A great deal of time is spent linking people to supports, resources and information.