A group of students at Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary School have come up with a way to increase youth engagement in West Kelowna.
Marie Fish, Carissa Schroeder and Steven Daoust are among the team behind TRACE Youth, a Facebook page dedicated to youth in West Kelowna. The page was created as a way to bridge the disconnect in communication between the City of West Kelowna and youth in the community, which has been as issue for several years.
“I’m also part of the leadership team here (MBSS) and student involvement has kind of been lacking lately, so we’re hoping this platform will get students more involved and gets more kids out to football games, rugby games, and just making them more popular things to go to,” Schroeder said.
The Facebook page will work by promoting student events and youth activities in Kelowna in a student-to-student manner, as many youth simply tune out whenever they see something from West Kelowna staff, or any other official medium.
“Our mindset when we were making this was to keep it student based so students aren’t automatically drawn away from it when they hear West Kelowna,” Daust said.
In the past, West Kelowna has created events and activities for youth, but many students simply haven’t known about them. TRACE Youth ideally will provide a way past that problem.
“We want them (West Kelowna city staff) to communicate with us, because the whole idea behind this was communication,” Fish said. “We want them to send us the events they’re hosting, or potential ideas for events. We can filter through them, and promote them on our page in a way that would be appealing for youth or even help them create events that are appealing for youth.”
The page will also serve as a feedback medium, as youth can comment on the page or the TRACE Youth leaders can create polls. The page will have a MBSS focus to it, although Daoust was quick to add it will still quite often to apply to other youth in the community.
“When we were creating this page, part of the idea behind it was we wanted a diverse group of people and we wanted our social media team to represent lots of different social groups in the school and in the community,” Fish said. “Part of that came with representing different grades as well, so we have Grade 10, 11 and 12 students on this team. I’m hoping that next year when it comes time to bring the social media team back together, everyone else that is still on the team will recruit their friends in Grade 10.”
Keeping Grade 10 students on the team will help provide longevity and succession for the program, as several of the students on the social media team, including Fish and Schroeder, will be graduating in June. The students also plan to keep the initiative relevant by staying up to date with social media, and evolving to encompass whatever new platforms become popular next.
The TRACE Youth page is up and running, and has started promoting several upcoming youth events in West Kelowna.