Our Town

Cranbrook youth speak up loudly

Members of Cranbrook’s Youth Action Team said thanks to local businesses that were certified youth friendly in a survey by CBKyouth. Kootenay Roasting Company, Hotshots Cafe, and The Choice were all recognized for their efforts in welcoming youth. Pictured, left to right: Cayenne McIntosh, Taylor Miller, Camryn Abel, and Lalita Stetski.  - Sally MacDonald photo
Members of Cranbrook’s Youth Action Team said thanks to local businesses that were certified youth friendly in a survey by CBKyouth. Kootenay Roasting Company, Hotshots Cafe, and The Choice were all recognized for their efforts in welcoming youth. Pictured, left to right: Cayenne McIntosh, Taylor Miller, Camryn Abel, and Lalita Stetski.
— image credit: Sally MacDonald photo

More than half of Cranbrook's youth don't feel valued by Cranbrook, a survey has found.

CBKyouth, with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook, polled more than 350 students aged between 12 and 19 last November to produce the survey.

The students attended either Parkland or Laurie Middle Schools, Kootenay Educational Services, T.M. Roberts Elementary, Mount Baker Secondary, College of the Rockies, or were home-schooled.

The results were presented to the public on Monday, March 31, during a special presentation at Cranbrook City Hall.

Of the students polled, 162 said they do not feel valued by Cranbrook, while 142 said they do feel valued.

Meanwhile 68 per cent felt Cranbrook does not have a space for youth to have a voice.

No students gave Cranbrook five stars for being youth friendly; 105 gave the city four stars; the majority – 173 – have Cranbrook three stars; 49 gave Cranbrook two stars; 12 gave Cranbrook one star.

The students were asked to recognize places in Cranbrook that were friendly to youth. The highest rating businesses were Kootenay Roasting Company, Hotshots, and The Choice.

Those businesses were formally thanked at Monday's event.

"These businesses are already doing a great job and it's important that we take a minute to recognize them," said Taylor Miller, a member of the Youth Action Team.

Meanwhile, youth said that the most unfriendly places were the skate park, schools, and the walking trails between Parkland and TM Roberts.

The survey showed that young people struggle with alcohol and drugs, mental health, money, bullying and peer pressure.

When asked what they would tell the city if they knew it was listening, students gave comments like:

• "We are not all miscreants and criminals."

• "There is nothing for people younger than 30. We don't need another golf course. We need things to keep youth here."

• "Not all youth in Cranbrook want to cause problems."

But the survey also showed that there is things for youth to do here; they just don't always know about.

"The first thing they came up with is that there is so much happening but they don't know about it. Adults think that things like cost and transportation are barriers, but they are significantly lower," said Dana Osiowy, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Young people said that youth-friendly people in Cranbrook are their teachers, youth counsellors, librarians and the mayor. Unfriendly people are the elderly, drug dealers, bullies, "skate park people", business owners and mall security.

As well as presenting the results of the youth survey, Monday's event asked participants to contribute ideas on each display to help fix issues youth are facing in Cranbrook.

"We're not just presenting the information; we are asking people to contribute solutions," said Osiowy.

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