In Thunder Bay more than half of our Aboriginal population is under the age of 25. As TBUAS has identified in the past, youth initiatives are a key priority in our strategic plan and moving forward. Youth are the future of this community and need community support to guide them. When you give youth your respect, attention, support and time, you help them to develop new positive opportunities.
In the New Year, TBUAS is hoping to announce a new joint venture with Leadership Thunder Bay. Youth are looking for leadership development, support and skills for the future. An Aboriginal Youth Leadership Pilot Program based on the Leadership Thunder Bay model, can provide just that. Our idea is to have each participant supported and mentored through a curriculum that will be based on Aboriginal traditions.
This will help Aboriginal youth find their way on local boards and committees, engage new voices in the community, and even connect young people to their roots; really giving them that extra boost to become leaders in addition to participants.
We know Aboriginal youth in Thunder Bay face many challenges, but rather than focusing on the negatives, we must start to focus on developing assets. This pilot program can help Aboriginal youth contribute to their community in a positive productive way, while increasing self-esteem and confidence.
Mentoring has been a part of Aboriginal culture for centuries as families have always been guided by their mentors-our Elders. Perhaps it is time to take a lesson from our past and place more of a focus on this traditional method to help our youth succeed. This new pilot program can give our youth access to strong role models and hear first hand from local Elders and teachers.
Right now the status of this potential project with Leadership Thunder Bay really depends on funding. Keep your fingers crossed for us, and hopefully we will be seeking participants to take part in this exciting new venture in the New Year.
Frances Wesley - TBUAS Planner