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Social media campaign champions youth ideas

October 3, 2017

A new social media campaign supports youth affected by the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire to voice their ideas for how to improve their communities.

The YouthVoicesWB campaign encourages youth to share their ideas of how to make their community better as a means to strengthen their resilience during the wildfire recovery and rebuilding efforts. The campaign is part of the Youth Voices Rising: Recovery and Resilience in Wood Buffalo action research project coordinated by the ResilienceByDesign Research Innovation Lab at Royal Roads University and funded by the Canadian Red Cross.

The campaign timing aligns with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo general elections so local decision makers can hear ideas from youth, which supports young people to have a stronger role in the conversation and policy decisions affecting them.   

“Young people may be reluctant to share their views in a formal setting,” says RbD researcher Dr. Tamara Plush. “Creative art, as seen in the campaign, not only serves as a catalyst for understanding and amplifying youth concerns, but the narratives can evoke powerful emotional reactions which may be the spark needed for action.”

Youth aged 14 to 24 living in the Wood Buffalo region can participate via the @YouthVoicesWB Facebook, Instagram or YouTube using art, photos, video, song, poetry, theatre, dance or other creative media or by joining the online conversation.

The campaign highlights the importance of youths’ perspective on disaster recovery and rebuilding and supports ongoing conversations and actions.

“When it affects us, it should involve us,” says Pamela, a 16-year-old campaign participant. “We're the future generation. We're going to be here making the decisions next. How are you going to make our world better for us and our children and their children if you don't give us the opportunity?”

YouthVoicesWB runs until Oct. 27, 2017. Learn more about the ResilienceByDesign Lab