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Editorial: Youth engagement

We were excited this week to report the story of Diwan Deo's advocacy efforts regarding the development of a second skate park in Airdrie.

We were excited this week to report the story of Diwan Deo's advocacy efforts regarding the development of a second skate park in Airdrie. While our newsroom had written a few stories about this skate park already, it wasn't until last week we were made aware the idea was initially brought forward by a local Grade 7 student.

It's great to see Airdrie's youth engage in the political process and lobby an idea to the City of Airdrie, and it's even better to see the City embrace that advocacy. Diwan is proof that, no matter your age, if you have an idea to improve your community, it is possible for that idea to come true, so long as you have the drive and initiative to see it through.

This isn't the only example of the City of Airdrie recognizing a good idea brought forward by youth. For nearly a decade, the City has run its Mayor for a Day challenge, which nominates a local student to speak at a City council meeting about a project or initiative they feel would improve their community. Previous ideas included a bike safety village, curbside recycling, installation of streetlights along the path at the Monklands Park soccer fields, and many others.

Mayor for a Day is run by the Airdrie Board of Youth Affairs. Started in 2005, the board aims to "educate, empower and promote leadership within the youth community," and deal with issues that affect them, according to airdrie.ca.

In addition to the Airdrie Board of Youth Affairs, the City boasts a Youth Engagement Strategy Framework, which intends for Airdrie to be a youth-friendly community by informing, empowering, connecting with and giving a voice to local youth.

Young people can often bring a fresh approach and perspective to politics. As Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown mentioned in our interview about a second skate park, youth are Airdrie's future, and it's great to see the city's youngest constituents take pride in their ideas and engage with their community.

 


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