BY RALPH FERGUSON
I just learned of an important event scheduled for November 8-10 in Nova Scotia that should interest all youth including those with disabilities in the 14-24 age group. It’s a leadership fall summit being led by the youth Leaders of Today (LOT) an emerging youth network supported by the NS Child & Youth Strategy and administered by HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development. The LOT Network is a clear statement that the Nova Scotia government wants to hear from young people on issues that impact them and their communities.
The summit will be held at Brigadoon Village, about 16 km (10 miles) beyond Kentville on Aylesford Lake, a fully accessible children’s camp venue, and so we in the disability community are very eager to see youth with disabilities attend events of this nature. In that regard, we expect that someone from Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission staff will be attending to promote issues of inclusion, disability, etc.
There is no cost to register, the weekend is free and includes meals and accommodation. The Leaders of Today organization can also assist with money for mileage expenses. All youth must attend with an adult ally and specify that there be no more than 4 youth per adult. . Deadline for applications is Oct. 30th
“The LOT Summit is the premier youth engagement event in the province.” Those are words of a Government participant in setup of the two day event..
So let’s think about youth engagement. It should be a strategic priority for us here in Pictou County and everywhere else in the province. So at Let Abilities Work Partnership we encourage all young people and their families to think of youth in this area, including youth with a disability, who would be interested in attending. This is an excellent opportunity to foster a partnership with a vibrant network to empower youth in communities all across the province to unite and take action to address issues affecting them and their peers.
The Summit is the perfect place for them to engage with a diverse spectrum of youth, youth serving organizations, and government staff from across the province. Not only is it an excellent networking event that delivers real and lasting connections, it’s a three-day conversation on the issues that really matter to youth in Nova Scotia.
The summit is shaped by the three aims that guide the LOT Network: to amplify youth voice in Nova Scotia, to inform the provincial Child and Youth Strategy and to create a place of intercultural learning between youth and government. With these three aims in mind the summit gathers together youth, supportive adults, and government staff of all levels, in order to create dialogue that will build and strengthen relationships across the province allowing youth to inform the programs and service that affect them, and vice versa.
The summit’s program will be setup to explore what effective youth and government engagement really means while providing participants an opportunity to network and share their expertise and experience with youth, community organizations, and government staff from their own areas and across the province. In addition, if a participant is particularly passionate about
an issue, they will be given an opportunity to host a conversation – where they get to direct what is talked about!
Also, I have electronic copies of the application forms and can supply these with instructions by email from firstname.lastname@example.org to youth or adults who wish to apply.
Ralph Ferguson is Chair in Pictou County of Let Abilities Work Partnership Society, a Commissioner of the Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission, Chair of the provincial cross disability group Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities and Nova Scotia’s representative on the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.