Aboriginal Next Steps: Courtenay

Youth participant quotes:

What did you learn at today's event?

"How to make good decisions"."

What I will do with what I learned today:

"Pass it on to others"

"Take it back to other class and to my friends"

Youth from the Nala'atsi program and guests joined the Aboriginal Next Steps project on April 25, 2008. I was in awe of their sincerity as they reflected and brainstormed solutions to include others in fostering community in Courtenay. Perhaps because of a direct result of experiencing a sense of belonging within the Friendship Centre Society, all three groups focused on inclusive community and education solutions.

They chose to work in three Action Plan groups: 1) Marginalized/Street-involved Youth; 2) Physical & Emotional Health; and 3)Sexual Health.

The Film Premiere and Community Dialogue was hosted by the Wachiay Friendship Centre Society.

Group 1: Marginalized / Street-involved Youth

Against the Odds: A profile of marginalized and street-involved youth in BC 2007 was a study conducted in nine communities across BC. The youth who participated in this survey reside at the margins of our society. Among these youth, Aboriginal youth are over-represented (a significant increase from 36% in 2000 to 57%). Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning teens were also over-represented among marginalized and street-involved youth: fewer than 60% of youth surveyed identified as exclusively heterosexual and more than one in five identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Several youth stated that they recognized their "street family" as more supportive than their original or biological family, and were able to report strong connections and ties with the surrogate families they had created. This film is about providing professional "been there done that" support and education for questioning Aboriginal youth, their families and their communities.

Group at the table brainstorming.

Research to Action Plan:

  • Our community goal is...Create awareness = less kids on street
  • If we had up to $5000, our activity/project would beCommercials, ad campaigns, sponsor youth groups
  • Describe what you would do...Presentations: awareness of things like sexual exploitation
    • Educate youth about their rights
    • Provide free services
    • Friendship Centre
    • Youth group
    • Services, such as volunteering, animal care, rehab, person to talk to
    • Transportation support
    • Our community goal is...Support for youth who are dealing with peer pressure, influence from media, bullying, etc.
    • If we had up to $5000, our activity/project would be...Community activites and education
    • Describe what you would do...Accessibility, recreational activites, employment, foster homes, support for youth 'masking' personal problems
    • In what ways would your project improve community health? (think about protective factors) There aren't many options for youth activities, boredom, peer pressure, so we will organize to advocate for more activitites
    • Who/What would you need to get involved? Adult support to organize healthier programs
    • Our community goal is...To promote safe sex in the community for youth.
    • If we had up to $5000, our activity/project would beHow to use condoms, and what to do with them (how to dispose of them) distribution, where to go if you need help
    • Describe what you would do...Safe sex workshops (putting on a condom, where to get them), different kinds of protection, workshops, health clinics - longer hours, more health nurses, more information; film, TV commercials, 'sex fair', creating awareness, broadcasting on radio
    • Who/What would you need to get involved? Speakers with personal experiences; doctors/nurses to talk about STDs, pregnancies, etc., and answer questions; guest speakers (including youth), prize packages
  • "Benched"

    • Tabby Webber
    • Chantel Stewart
    • Lynn Mark
    • Julie Mark

    Group 2: Physical & Emotional Health

    Research indicates that building protective factors (feeling connected to family, friends, community, and/or school) can drastically reduce the risk of attempted suicide or other harmful behaviours. This group's film is about how community support for Aborginal youth who may be wearing a 'mask' can make a positive difference.

    Research to Action Plan:

    "The Centre"

    • Chris F.
    • Harley D.
    • Clint C.
    • Cleann L.
    • Aaron J.
    • Aaron C.

    Group 3: Sexual Health

    Group at the table brainstorming.The percentage of sexually active Aboriginal students who practice safe sex increased signficiantly in the past decade. In 2003, about 67% used a condom the last time they had sex, up from 54% in 1992. In addition to preventing pregnancy, condom use can also protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This group asks sexually active youth to think about about, 'what might happen if you have unprotected sex?'

    Research to Action Plan:

    "What Might Happen When You Have Sex"

    • John Robertson
    • Scott Smith
    • Maria Garcia
    • Hailey Kernachan