SOURCE: Boys and Girls Club of Canada
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - September 16, 2013) - Increasing the democratic participation of young people is the focus of a new partnership between Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) and Elections Canada.
A recent national report commissioned by Samara, titled Lightweights? Political Participation Beyond the Ballot Box, found that most young Canadians aren't participating in formal political activities such as contacting elected officials or volunteering in election campaigns. This is also reflected in youth voting rates. Only 39% of youth aged 18 to 24 voted in the last federal election in 2011.
To help address this issue, Boys and Girls Clubs, with the support of Elections Canada, is launching a youth democracy module during Democracy Week (September 16 to 23), as part of their Keystone leadership development programming. The module will be distributed in a few weeks and piloted in Clubs over the coming year. Youth will discover the importance of being active and engaged citizens, have a better understanding of how democracy works and the role they can play in it and feel more confident to express their ideas for the future.
"The goal of the youth democracy module is to increase the democratic participation of youth, especially those from communities most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights. Through this project, we're helping young people figure out what they care about, how they can be influential and who to go to with their ideas," said BGCC President and CEO Pam Jolliffe.
"Youth want to make a difference but they also need to understand how democracy works so their ideas can be acted on. That's why we're excited to partner with Elections Canada and equip young people with the knowledge, tools and supports they need to actively participate in Canada's democracy and be able to shape Canada's future."
"Our democracy belongs to us all, and it needs our participation to stay healthy. This initiative is about showing young Canadians that their voices and opinions matter -- that they are an important and integral part of the national conversation," said Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer of Canada.
For more about Canada's Democracy Week, visit http://www.democracy-democratie.ca/.
About Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is dedicated to supporting and encouraging children and youth as they grow and develop. We are a national charity serving 200,000 young people in more than 650 locations across Canada. We listen to their opinions and ideas, applaud their accomplishments, lend support during their struggles and provide ways to explore their interests and talents. With this encouragement they develop the confidence and sense of belonging that helps them succeed in school, form positive relationships and mature into responsible, caring adults. For over 110 years we have welcomed children, youth and their families into clubs that reflect the diversity of Canada in small and large cities, rural communities and First Nations Reserves. Visit www.bgccan.com and follow us at www.facebook.com/bgccan and www.twitter.com/bgccan.
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