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Youth forum focus on challenges of living in the County

Challenges for youth living in the County – housing, transportation and employment – were among subjects discussed at a youth-focused Future Forum Monday night.

The talk/brainstorming event hosted by Prince Edward County councillor Lenny Epstein with residents Hilary Fennell, Sami Lester, Rachael Tracey and Stephanie Bell brought about 40 youth and about 20 adult mentors and facilitators to the meeting upstairs from Books & Co.

“They are all here on a Monday night for a reason and that’s that they all want to effect change,” said Fennell. “That’s inspiring and that says alot about Prince Edward County.

The challenge, she said, will be implementing the great ideas brought forward.

“The challenge will be in the community for actually making these things happen – respecting youth enough to see they’ve come out with their opinions and suggestions and now what are we going to do as grownups to spearhead some of those projects? ”

Fennell said the organization committee will review the evening’s comments and notations and connect young people with adults in working groups to drive the ideas.

Ideas brought forth ranged from entertainment and employment to transportation and the environment and some suggestions were made for programs or services already in place in various areas in the County.

“I came because I want to see more events and opportunities created for youth,” said Samantha Kuipers, who is to graduate from Queen’s theatre and biology studies next month and plans to return home to the County. “Not parties, or bars but ones surrounding, athletics, social and arts – creating environments for people to meet and work with all people in the community, all ages, all cultures.”

Suggestions included everything from a couch surfing network or phone app to help youth who might need a safe place to stay, to more business networking opportunities, continued Trash Bashes, more recycling bins on streets, more protection of endangered species and more solar panels on roof tops instead of in fields.

Stephanie Bell, one of the youth forum hosts

Stephanie Bell, one of the youth forum hosts

Some of the suggestions included:

-public gymnasium use
-recording studio us
-sports, go karts
-bus to Picton
-music store, arcade
-more jobs, not fast food
-more youth get-togethers

-more year-round jobs, rather than seasonal and fast food options
-help to gain experience for jobs
-Bring Uber to the County, car pooling, bus system and better bike paths
-low-cost ride to the Sandbanks

-affordable and clean options for housing
-free dental
-thrift shops open past 4 p.m.
-fix “crappy” internet
-more healthy food restaurants
-more mental health resources

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