A multi-week political forum for younger adults who either live, work or recreate on the North Shore is now accepting applications for its 2020 cohort.
The second iteration of the North Shore Young Citizens’ Forum is intended to get applicants aged 18 to 39 more involved in local politics while they spend time learning the ins and outs of North Shore municipal governments, according to Murray Mollard, executive director at North Shore Community Resources.
And for North Vancouver City and District governments, as well as the District of West Vancouver, Mollard makes the case that it’s an opportunity for municipalities to hear directly from some of their younger constituents.
“Here’s an opportunity to work with a unique group of young adults who you don’t often get to chat with, who don’t often show up at city council meetings, and it’s a chance for you to canvas their thoughts,” said Mollard. “They’re going to learn what municipalities do and don’t do. It’s a particular level of government with particular responsibilities.”
The first cohort of the Young Citizens’ Forum ran last year from January to June.
The focus of that group was looking at government process in greater detail, said Mollard, adding the goal was to come up with suggestions on how to get more younger adults involved in that process of everyday civic affairs.
The 2019 group submitted a final report that featured 16 recommendations relating to that goal, including improving access to council meetings and strengthening the representation of younger adults on existing municipality advisory committees.
“This is a group that often feels left out, on the outside, and not necessarily plugged into the decision makers,” said Mollard. “We’re still waiting for the municipalities to respond and implement some of those recommendations. There’s been a couple here and there.”
The 2020 cohort will be less focused on process as it will on brainstorming, examining and creating a report on substantive local issues, added Mollard.
“It could be anything. It could be sustainable transportation, it could be climate change issues, it could be childcare issues, it could be affordable housing. We’re not pre-defining this for the municipalities,” he said.
In the era of COVID-19, North Shore Community Resources has partnered with CityHive to offer this year’s 11-session forum in a virtual manner. Participants will meet up online during a variety of sessions, starting in October, that will all attempt to answer the question: What would it take to make the North Shore more resilient?
Last year’s group of 18-to-39-year-olds came from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences, added Murray, who expects this year’s virtual cohort will largely have a similar makeup.
“It’s going to be different but we think we can still do it in a way that’s engaging and informative and a good learning and networking experience for the participants,” he said.
Murray encouraged people to visit the North Shore Young Citizens’ Forum’s landing page at cityhive.ca/north-shore-young-citizens-forum for more information or to apply.
Application deadline is Sept. 20 at midnight.