On February 13, many members of the community gathered at the visitor info center to discuss opportunities for youth in Valemount.

Columbia Basin trust will provide a grant to Valemount of $25,000 per year for four years to improve Valemount’s youth activities and infrastructure; the only thing Valemount needs to do is figure out how to put that money to good use.

There were people of all ages at the meeting, youth and adults alike all discussing the same thing -improving quality of life for Valemount’s youth.

The meeting started with participants discussing the issues that Valemount youth face, things like not having a designated meeting area, no effective way to communicate between adults and youth, not enough activities, existing activities needing improvement and activities costing too much.

After the issues were discussed, the meeting attendees got together into groups of around six people, and discussed the best ways to fix the problems. The main objective of the meeting was to narrow down the priorities and find consensus on the main issues.

There were many ideas ranging from an activity center, a glee club and an indoor soccer arena, to a swimming area at Kinbasket Lake and improving mountain biking trails up five mile. All the participants at the meeting had control over what was discussed, and where the meeting went. The meeting coordinator, Aimee Ambrosone, gave the meeting participants the freedom to discuss any topics they chose, which made for a laid back enjoyable meeting.

All of these ideas were reviewed and discussed. There was a voting system that made it very obvious what the meeting participants wanted. Adults voted with a yellow sticker and youth voted with green. Ideas were grouped by the meeting coordinator into categories: outdoor recreational activities, youth space and arts and cultural programs. The Next Steps committee will use these priorities to decide which projects to fund. The Next steps committee is composed of youth and adults from the meeting who will meet several more times to discuss where to spend the money.

Ambrosone thinks that Valemount has all the enthusiasm that it needs for the projects to go through. “There seems to be a lot of excitement within the community” said Ambrosone “the youth of Valemount seem very engaged!”

According to Ambrosone this same funding project has been extremely effective in other communities. “As long as the youth are enthusiastic about the projects, this project is highly effective at getting what the community wants.”

John Kenkel