PROFILE: Rossland's new Youth Action coodinator Mike Kent

Liam Barnes
By Liam Barnes
November 22nd, 2013

So far, November has been an exciting month for Rossland. Over the last few weeks, a host of opportunities and events have been announced that range all the way from youth Parkour training to teen dances to evening Zumba classes.

The upcoming winter is shaping up to be our most action-packed winter, ever. More importantly, a sizable portion of this welcome boost in activity focuses on our city’s youth. For this, we can thank Rossland’s new Youth Action Coordinator, Mike Kent.

According to Kent, the Rossland Youth Action Network’s aim is to “increase activities for youth in the community and support opportunities and services for youth aged 12 -18 years old.” This goal has been made possible by the Columbia Basin Trust, who support the Network with their Community Directed Youth Funds.

Why all this focus on the youth of Rossland? The Youth Action Network believes that

  • Youth are important community stakeholders and supporting youth needs to be a community priority.
  • Our diverse community can contribute to the development of excellent youth programming
  • It is critical to support avenues for meaningful youth engagement, including active participation in community decision making.
  • Youth have the right to be accorded dignity and respect, and to be free from physical and emotional harassment or discrimination based on age, sex, wealth, ability, peer group, sexual orientation or beliefs.
  • Youth have the right to sense the value they hold to their community and the responsibility to act as citizens of that community.
  • Celebrating the achievements,positive contributions, and unique abilities of young people will benefit the entire community
  • The community gains from the contributions that youth bring to organizations, activities, and their relationship.
  • Building partnerships and coordinating services will benefit youth
  • Building cohesion between local youth who attend school in different places is a key tenet of community sustainability.

Earlier in the month, Kent held a planning session that was attended by thirty four Rossland youth to find out what the top three programs/events/activities they would like to see were. The results? Parkour, arts programs, and dances.

“We have started programming in all three of these areas,” states Mike, “Parkour runs Mondays and Thursdays from 7-8:30pm at the Annex, a Pen and Ink drawing program with Joost Winckers is running on Wednesdays and the YAN is supporting Sno Ball at the Miners Hall on Nov 29th.”

The Network also received an additional CBT grant for $15,000. This money will go towards a celebration of the youth of Rossland during National Youth Week May 1-7, 2014 as well as a variety of programs in the months leading up to it.

Mike Kent encourages the youth of Rossland to get involved in the Youth Action Network’s decision making process in relation to the grant.

“All of the funds we have received are ‘youth directed’ and we want your input and help in making programs happen”, he says. “Come help us spend $1500!”

On Tuesday, November 26th at 6:30, there will be a meeting at the Rossland Library for youth in grades 7-9 to discuss what kind of programs they want to see in 2014. The same meeting will take place for youth in grades 10-12 at to the Rossland Art Gallery on Wednesday, November 27th at 7pm.

“There will be pizza and refreshments at both of these meetings,” adds Kent. “What’s better than having a say in programming? Having a say in programming while eating pizza!”

Can’t make the meetings but want to get involved? Email Mike at yancoordinator@gmail.com.

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