Thanks to everyone for making the Ontario Youth Matter Orientation a success! On Tuesday April 26, the OYM Orientation took place at the Laidlaw Foundation offices. A strong group of more than 30 people joined in the session, with a good mix of youth and adult allies present.

The goals of the Orientation were to rekindle existing relationships and to build new ones with fresh faces around the table. It was also an opportunity to review OYM's campaign goals and develop action plans for the next 6 months with three newly established Sub-Committees:

·      Government Relations

·      Resource

·      Youth Engagement

The night started off with a recap of the four campaign goals that we are engaged in for the rest of the year:

1.          A province-wide outcomes-based youth policy framework with broad political "buy-in" across political parties and ministries.

2.          Involved, supported youth who are energized to influence policy that affects them by actively engaging in the campaign and serving as leaders.

3.          A high functioning campaign team with clear roles, an increased capacity to carry out the work, and the potential to "leave a legacy" for those who want to build on it.

4.          Public discourse on the issues concerning youth has been incited and the critical issues are on the election agenda.

After introductions, we organized into break out groups based on Sub-Committee affiliation. The breakout groups discussed projects for the upcoming months, such as hosting our own consultations on the Youth Policy Framework being developed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, ramping up our youth engagement strategy so that we walk the talk at all times, and building up a stronger public presence. At each session, everyone was asked to brainstorm ideas and list their expertise according to the campaign goals and tasks of their respective Sub-Committee. At the end of the night, people were visibly energized and buzzing with enthusiasm for what lies ahead.

Dates for the first Sub-Committee meetings are being worked out in the next few days, but the work seems to be already underway – we've already heard from some members that they are starting to draft a Terms of Reference!

Looks like OYM will be quite loud in the coming months!

~ Roger Mak, Ontario Youth Matter Campaign Liaison



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