Engaging Key Sectors: Youth, Economic & Social Development
The MOU Steering Committee initiated a number of conversations with key sectors over the past several weeks. These included youth, economic and social development sectors. These events were independently facilitated to ensure a safe and neutral space for all perspectives and viewpoints to gather.
On May 3, an intergenerational conversation was hosted at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. The purpose was to identify ways to better include youth in community decision-making.
Most participants recognize that youth feel that they have a voice but that their voice is not heard. Another common theme was that youth participants are unaware of how to engage in the community (politically, economically, socially and environmentally) so that they might influence positive change.
Ways to overcome barriers to youth inclusion were identified; these included offering transportation so that youth can participate or holding meetings at the schools. Another idea that emerged was creating youth councils and other ways to bring youth voice and leadership into decision-making spaces in community and government.
On May 4, the Steering Committee hosted another conversation that brought the economic and social development sector together. Though originally envisioned as two separate conversations it was soon realized that it would be better to bring members of both sectors together since they are both a part of the economic fabric of our community.
In this session the message we heard was a strong desire for a united voice for the region. Participants felt that Pictou County needs to be developed as a whole; integrating economic, social and political spheres, and that a collaborative approach is necessary to ensure the long-term success and viability of the region. Sector representatives view themselves as a part of the larger system that is informed by the community.
Participants felt that this conversation was important because “Pictou County should be the second strongest region in Nova Scotia,” quoting one of the participants. It has the people, the resources and the desire to do and be better, and it needs to gain traction to move the region forward in a positive direction.
Those in attendance that were not in favor of amalgamation stated that they felt a unified approach, based on inclusion (ages and cultures), community engagement, collaboration, community development, business development and entrepreneurship, was essential to moving forward.
The MOU Steering Committee values the input gathered in these conversations and views them as foundational for the future regardless of the outcome of the plebiscite.