With COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings, youth often mentioned wanting more opportunities to connect with their community, friends and neighbours.¹Our Kids Network (2022). Relationships are the Roots of Positive Development: Belonging and Connectedness for Halton Youth. Retrieved from https://www.ourkidsnetwork.ca/Common/ShortCodes/Relationships-FINAL.pdf Activities to improve the community and environmental action were common suggestions in the open comments section of the survey. Out of 361 open comments, 56 (16%) offered suggestions to improve their neighbourhoods. The suggestions ranged from improving or adding recreation and culture facilities or parks, to offering transportation for youth who want to participate in community events. Concerns about safety in their neighbourhoods or inclusivity were also raised. Youth have much to say and want to engage with their communities. Among those 56 comments, 23 (41%) wanted to see more opportunities to get engaged and volunteer in their communities.
The environment was also a concern for those suggesting improvements to their communities. Out of 56 comments, 28 (50%) wanted more action towards protecting the environment and offering opportunities for youth to be outdoors and enjoy nature. Environmental events, recycling, community gardens, clean-ups, and initiatives to improve air quality were cited. Youth also mentioned a desire for more green areas or improvement of existing green areas to bolster conservation efforts (e.g., adding plants that support endangered species). Two youth were concerned about the increased construction in their neighbourhoods and one youth wanted natural areas to be protected. Moreover, approximately one-third of comments on volunteering or engaging in community activities cited environmental initiatives. This seems to be an area where youth are eager to support their neighbourhoods.
Suggested citation: Our Kids Network (2022). Building for the future: how youth in Halton engage in caring for their communities and the environment. 2021 Halton Youth Impact Survey.