It’s time for youth to have their voices heard, so says the Conservative MP from Elgin-Middlesex-London.
Karen Vecchio is looking for people ages 16 to 24 from her riding to become part of a youth advisory board. Members will have the chance to access educational resources, take part in networking events and discuss federal government policies.
Members of Parliament across the country are organizing youth councils in their ridings. Vecchio said, to her knowledge, there’s never been one in Elgin-Middlesex-London.
“It came from genuinely wanting to know what our youth today are concerned with,” she said.
Vecchio said she wants to make sure that the growing youth population has a voice at the federal level.
So far, Vecchio has a few engaged youth that will be involved on the council. She’s hoping to create a leadership team that makes the agendas and organizes what topics are addressed.
“Then I would like rotating youth. If people want to make it because it’s a topic that’s really important to them, come on out,” Vecchio said.
Delany Leitch, a member of the youth council leadership, said she wanted to team up with Vecchio to reach more young people and continuing give back to other youth.
“I see it as a way of reaching out to people who otherwise wouldn’t really be getting involved in their communities,” Leitch said.
Leitch said she’s thinks it’s important for youth to get involved in politics, even if they aren’t yet at voting age, because federal policies affect people of all ages.
“Increasingly, government issues and government actions are really hitting home for young people in my opinion, especially from the rural youth perspective,” Leitch said.
A youth council kick-off event will happen next week in St. Thomas, and any Elgin-Middlesex-London youth in the age bracket are welcome to attend. Registration is encouraged but not required.
“We want to make sure people aren’t excluded just because they forgot to register,” Vecchio said.
Although Vecchio is a member of the Conservative Party, she stressed the youth council is non-partisan.
“I think that’s really important because the biggest thing is, I do believe in true democracy and I believe we all have the right to think different things,” Vecchio said.
People who may have different views on federal politics shouldn’t feel they can’t participate.
“It expands the conversation even greater. I like to have various opinions so that we can actually find a balance,” Vecchio said.
IF YOU GO
What: MP Karen Vecchio youth council kick-off
Where: Caso Station, 750 Talbot St., St. Thomas
When: July 9 at 6 p.m.
More information or to register: 519-637-2255