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Local student launches Youth Advisory Committee

Youth Councillor Dylan Annis wants to bring a younger perspective to city meetings
Dylan Annis, a grade 12 student at Fernie Academy, created the Youth Advisory Committee after being appointed as Youth Councillor by the City of Fernie last fall. (photo courtesy of City of Fernie)

Fernie Youth Councillor Dylan Annis is giving younger folks the chance to get involved in the local political scene.

He’s created a Youth Advisory Committee, where young leaders can share their perspectives on important municipal topics and inform city council of the issues that matter to them.

“The overall intent of it is to build community with youth that we have at the different schools in Fernie,” said Annis.

There’s six students in the group, with representation from Fernie Secondary School, Fernie Academy and Kootenay Discovery School. Annis sourced members from local leadership clubs like the Fernie Youth Action Network and cadets, as well as other youth councillor applicants.

Annis is a grade 12 student at Fernie Academy.

The group meets every Monday through Zoom to chat about topics that are discussed in city council meetings and impact local youth. Recent conversations have revolved around the city’s proposed curbside compost collection program, which will see organic waste bins delivered to residential houses in Fernie. The City plans to role out a public awareness campaign devoted to the program in May and bins are scheduled to be delivered in the summer.

Annis said that the group helps bring diverse youth opinions to the attention of city council.

It’s also educational, giving youth a better understanding of how government works and how to be an involved citizen.

“There’s not a lot of youth participation in the municipality. People don’t know how to participate in the meetings. Spreading the knowledge of how to participate, will increase youth engagement in the municipality,” he said.

“It leads to a proper representational democracy,” he added.

Annis has arranged for the members to attend a council meeting.

The group has got a few different projects on the go. They’re organizing a track and field event in May to bring students from different schools together to strengthen communication between different social groups.

They’re making posters that advertise how youth can participate in the council meetings, and they’re creating a Youth Advisory Committee Instagram page to get city news out to younger demographics.

Annis has been Fernie’s Youth Councillor since last fall, when he was selected for the position out of a handful of applicants.

He attended the B.C Youth Parliament in Victoria in December, where he learned how to debate topics and practice drafting bills in an environment not unlike the House of Commons.

He also has been appointed Premier for Interior Youth Parliament, a role that he’ll fulfill in June, that will allow him to speak with youth from across the province and bring local issues to a wider audience.

READ MORE: Dylan Annis is Fernie’s new youth councillor

About the Author: Gillian Francis

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