The Surrey Leadership Youth Council (SLYC) is a group that advocates for the rights of youth within the City of Surrey. Our group helps advocate for the rights of youth and lets their voices be heard. We do this through partnering with the City of Surrey and creating multiple different events that help get the word out there about youth leadership, voices, and much more. We also hold a yearly event in October known as the “Youth Speak Up” forum. This event gives youth a platform to voice their opinions on important topics regarding current events. This event is led by our youth and City of Surrey staff. The members are made up of youth from ages 14-18 and a youth coordinator, that works for the City of Surrey and helps provide help and guidance for the youth in any way possible.
Due to the unfortunate events of Covid-19 limiting the options of what our group could do this year, we had to face a brand-new challenge of how we would continue working on our goals without having an in-person event. We were lucky enough to have the chance to work with an organization such as Equitas, which stands for similar goals as ours. Our group partnered with Equitas and received mentorship from the group and more information into the human rights aspect of youth within Canada.
Shifting away from the typical format of events we had held was difficult at first, but after hearing about other issues youth in Canada face, we were motivated to work on a project focused on the transition from high school to post-secondary. We found this project to be the perfect project as it was something that all ages of youth have to deal with and often causes stress and anxiety. We decided to pair this with some of the rights we had learned about from the speaking rights training and make this into our big project for the year. We named this project “So you’re done with high school, now what?”
The project that we chose was entirely focused on giving information to youth about the path to post-secondary, and to help alleviate pressures that they may have about the transition. The group all banded together to come up with the idea to have an online event that had panellists who had gone through the transition with a variety of different careers to talk about their experiences, resources they used, and overall advice for the youth about post-secondary. Our group thought the best way to convey the information from the panellists was through a video in which we had interviewed them and got them to answer some questions regarding their experiences. To add some extra information to the project we provided a Q/A session during the event to let the crowd ask some unanswered questions they might have had.
Knowing the massive scale of post-secondary options, we had to pick a small group of panellists that showed just a few of the possibilities that youth could pursue. Our group picked a wide variety of career options from university students to entrepreneurs, to teachers, and more. We tried our best to get a bit of everything. When the actual event was held it was a massive success. We had a large group of people join the event, who all enjoyed and learned more about the transition from high school to post-secondary. The event helped provide some very important resources and showed the participants that whatever path they choose is the right choice, as long as they are happy doing it. It also showed everyone that it’s okay to make mistakes in the journey and the best we can do is follow our passions.
With all of these learnings, everyone who attended the event felt more prepared for the transition, and also had some of their fears alleviated. After the event, the video was published on YouTube to help get our message out there. This event was just one of the events that the Surrey Leadership Youth Council holds, and it shows others that, even if we are young, our impact doesn’t have to be any smaller than anyone else’s.