Calgarians under age 25 have their say about city’s future in summit planned for youth by youth

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Two-day virtual event will culminate with youth presentations to municipal candidates

Calgary, Alberta –
A dozen diverse youth-serving organizations have come together to put on Calgary’s first virtual Youth Summit designed for youth by youth. More than 100 Calgarians aged 16 to 25 will attend the free, interactive two-day event, where youth will collaborate, learn and ultimately present solutions to pressing issues facing our city.

“For more than a year, our leaders, academics and pundits have been talking about young people leaving Calgary. Not many of these conversations have actually included young people like me,” says Youth Summit lead, 24-year-old Deborah Wong, who is also a community organizer with Calgary’s Future. “Youth need to be included in this important conversation. If we want our youth to stay in Calgary and build their families, careers and lives here, we need youth at the table, sharing their voices, thoughts and ideas with our city’s leaders.” 

A range of organizations that work with youth, including Global Shapers Calgary, Calgary Climate Hub, Fair Trade Calgary, and Miskanawah, are collaborating with Calgary’s Future on the Youth Summit. The event will be broken down into six themes that have been identified as pressing issues by youth in Calgary, including a Sustainable Economy and COVID Recovery, Transportation and Placemaking, and Climate Resilience and Action. The Summit takes place on Friday June 25 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday June 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Attendees will hear from guest speakers (including author Dave Meslin), share ideas in break out rooms, and ultimately have a voice in policy making on the conference’s final day when youth will present their ideas to municipal candidates and city leaders. 

“The more people are engaged in their communities, the more inclusive our cities will become,” says Alice Lam, who will be speaking on Saturday and is a community builder in Calgary and the founder of Tigerstedt Flea Pop-up Market, Volly App and the Calgary Community Fridge. 

Wong, the Youth Summit organizer, moved to Calgary on her own from Hong Kong as an international student at age 15 and has fallen in love with the city over the last decade. “Our wonderful city is facing so many issues, from our vacant downtown to ongoing recession to post-COVID recovery,” says Wong. “The Youth Summit is the first event of its kind, specifically organized for youth by youth, so we can come together, discuss pressing issues and have our voices heard by leaders.”

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