YouthScape is a pan-Canadian initiative that seeks to engage marginalized youth in community building and decision making. YouthScape helps create stronger, more resilient communities and longterm, sustainable systems change.
YouthScape seeks to engage young people in creating long term change. It is based on the idea that all young people can make important contributions to their communities that result in more inclusive, adaptable and healthy, diverse, protective, collaborative spaces and places for all members of society. YouthScape has helped in creating the environment for young people to safely participate and contribute to decision making and planning in partnership with adults and key decision makers.
In 2005, the trustees of the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation approved a youth engagement strategy to foster innovative change at both the local and national level. This strategy was based on a vision for Canada where all people have the opportunity to develop their potential and contribute to the betterment of their communities.
In 2006, with the support from the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, the United Way of Calgary and Area and a National Advisory, 5 diverse communities were selected to support the engagement of young people, especially those who have been traditionally excluded, and key community stakeholders to positively change systems and create stronger communities. The five communities are: Halifax, Rivière des Prairies, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, and Saskatoon.
Until 2010, IICRD worked with Community Partners and the YouthScape National Advisory to:
- Build community capacity, gather key information, and create a learning community around youth engagement and systems change
- Gather critical information using developmental evaluation and participatory action research tools
- Develop strategic relationships (including the Office of the Governor General)
- Explore several new areas of learning within the youth engagement and community development field
- Provide ongoing technical support to community partners
YouthScape’s National Advisory provides guidance and expertise on a wide range of issues including cross cultural communication, community development, human rights, child rights, diversity and racism, immigration, youth engagement with unengaged or marginalized youth, intergenerational partnerships, First Nations cultures, and working across systems including youth serving organizations, municipalities, local and national governments, businesses etc.
We would also like acknowledge and thank Ginger Gonsnell-Rogers and Claude Perras who also provided insights, expertise and experience with respect to engaging Aboriginal young people as well as the corporate sector on this initiative.