The Beaver County Youth Engagement Strategy (YES) project was a two year research project conducted by the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities in partnership with both FCSS organizations in the County, and Alberta Health Services. It was completed March 31, 2017. The purpose of the project was to provide the basis for policy makers and youth programmers in Beaver County, Tofield, Ryley, Holden and Viking to make evidence-based decisions to improve youth engagement, volunteerism, and employability, with an overarching long-term goal of improving youth retention in the region.
Research was conducted with grade 8 to 12 students in the region; and with community members. Additionally, supporting research was conducted on youth employability in the Beaver region; and on the topic of regionalization in general. A Strategy Roadmap was created. It is a comprehensive mapping tool which delineates a pathway, based on the goals and statements of key organizations and communities in Beaver County, to achieving an increase in youth retention and engagement. The Gap Analysis accompanying the Roadmap identifies missing components and any shortcomings, which may inhibit youth retention and engagement, in the goals and vision statements of the organizations and communities.
Workshops were held and from these workshops, ten priority goals for youth engagement, employability and volunteerism were identified. Using primary research from the schools and employability survey; and from academic literature, 85 recommendations were developed. As a community that is good for youth is good for everyone, several recommendations reach beyond the youth target population. The recommendations, along with 34 original reports from the research identified above, and several hundred academic literature sources are available in the Beaver County Youth Engagement portal. This resource base will form the basis for action in youth engagement, volunteerism, and employability planning, programming and policy going forward.
To view the Beaver County YES portal, visit http://beavercountyyouth.ca.