Baccalieu Beat: A Voice for Youth on the Baccalieu Trail
"Youth Council has lots of ideas, plans"

By: Melissa Jenkins, Central Region, Baccalieu Trail Youth Council

November 25, 2020


The Baccalieu Trail Youth Council, (BTYC) held its first official meeting Oct. 14.

Members of the Central Region are Tara Fowler-Treasurer, Kim White, Krysten Piercey and Melissa Jenkins.

The Northern Region is represented by Nadine Howell, Christina Doyle, Leslie Blake and our new chairwoman, Samantha Bursey.

Our Southern Region members include Melanie Saunders-Vice Chair; Lisa Bowering, secretary, Tanya Rumboldt, and Lisa Lynch. Also involved with the BTYC are past Chair., Shawn Kennel, R.C.M.P. officer Const. Marc Trioreau, MRON representative: Karen Davis, Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador's Youth (FINALLY!) representative, Steve Kennedy; youth representative: Jimmy Harris, and Youth Coordinator, Robyn Frampton.

The past year has been very successful for MRON and the BTYC, and we plan to expand on last year's accomplishments.

Youth Concerns

The Baccalieu Trail Youth Council is an organization that assists with youth concerns and involvement of youth in different parts of the region. The BTYC acts as a connection between Mariner's Resource Opportunities Network Inc. (MRON) and the youth of Zone 17.

It allows youth to bring their concerns to the attention of other organizations and be heard. Members come from all areas including Spaniard's Bay, Harbour Grace, Carbonear, Northern Bay, and Hant's Harbour.

It gives youth the chance to offer their own perspectives and to give a diversity of ideas that come from each of the areas.

Every member on the volunteer group dedicates their own time to attend meetings and work with each other on different activities. We also work closely with youth to encourage community economic development, and obtain information on volunteer activities and youth programs available to any young person in the area to attain.

The Baccalieu Trail Youth Council has many exciting ideas for the upcoming year, and not just for the council, but for all youth in these areas. We have come up with many key issues to introduce to the area. Issues mainly involve high school students and their future educational plans and ideas for potential careers.

Low ratio of guidance counselors

A lot of high school graduates decide to delay their entry into post-secondary institutes because they are inadequately prepared for it. There are limited amounts of career information available to youth in high schools because of the low ratio of guidance counselors to students. We believe youth should be encouraged to work during high school and take advantage of any programs, such as tuition programs, to lower their debt after post-secondary graduation.

We believe a Career Explorations course should be mandatory in the high school curriculum to inform students of different professions they could get involved in. We also believe that the number of guidance councilors in schools should be increased to keep sufficient student-teacher ratios.

Many young people are very concerned and somewhat scared by the transition from high school to college, university, etc. We also believe there should be money management information available to everyone, and even information on student loans.

Another idea that was brought to our attention was a program where more knowledgeable, older youth share their experiences with the other youth about to embark upon the post-secondary scene.

We have concluded parents are involving themselves too much in the decisions on their child's future and career. Parents should become more educated and informed of the options their children have available for career opportunities. We believe information sessions are very important for parents to converse about their child's choices. These sessions would also include ways parents could encourage their child to make good decisions for their future educational plans.

People in the work force should make known their businesses and jobs, and promote them with, for example, career days and open houses. We also feel businesses should make themselves youth-friendly, so they could promote themselves and encourage youth who may have an interest in their area of expertise. Scholarship information should more readily available. Many times information is just stuck up on a wall, or you have to go to the guidance counselor, which, for some, is not very convenient. If this information was made more accessible, more students would not mind entering post-secondary earlier to get into a good career. Community Info Fairs are also useful in these communities. We hosted several of these fairs in the past and found them very useful.

Student Loan Program Intimidating

Many youth, including myself, find the Canada/Newfoundland and Labrador Student Loan Program very intimidating, not to mention confusing. If we had guidelines or were better informed, we would actually be more likely, and less afraid, to apply for loans and financial support. We believe there should be a one-on-one approach put in place so that more students can understand easier than if the information pathways remain the same. We think more information should be available at HRDC and HRE offices.

Overall, we are planning to work with students and organizations to compile a plan to assist in all the main issues with post-secondary assistance. We have more ideas for the future as well, hopefully including the Carbonear Christmas parade, community info fairs, and the BTYC Art Showcase.