Through the month of May (and a little into June) the CYPT along with partners ran the Youth Impact Survey in Waterloo Region. The goal was to hear from 1000 young people aged nine -18 about different aspects of their lives and well-being. In addition to that, we shared an optional feedback survey about the survey to hear from youth their thoughts on the tool itself, the wording, and specific questions. In 2020, when the Youth Impact Survey ran, we did the same thing and we were able to make changes based on the suggestions of the young people who filled out the survey during that pilot phase.
This year, in 2021, we added an extra question. We asked youth if they were interested in staying connected to the work of the Children and Youth Planning Table. Much to our surprise, more than 350 youth said yes. This came as a lovely, and unexpected surprise and reminded us of a key ingredient to meaningful youth engagement: “Meet youth where they’re at.” By providing an opportunity to stay involved while currently participating instead of starting from scratch looking for a group of young people interested in system-level work every time an opportunity comes up, we have developed a relationship with young people across various age groups, identities, and communities in Waterloo Region.
The next step, of course, is to build and continue fostering these relationships and growing these intergenerational partnerships. We’ve seen time and time again that youth have something meaningful to contribute and the results and feedback we’ve received from the Youth Impact Survey is just the tip of the iceberg.
Things we heard from youth:
“I liked how there was a section where it asked about our well-being. It felt like I was given a say in the next steps of the project and where I would like to see change.” – 2021 Youth Impact Survey Respondent
“Adults should use this info to better understand the lives of youth and the resources needed to help them.” – 2021 Youth Impact Survey Respondent
In case you haven’t seen this in a while, we encourage you to review Less Telling More Asking: Meaningful youth engagement at a glance. Published by the Children and Youth Planning Table in 2019.