Two West Kootenay youth have been named to the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council and will provide direct and ongoing feedback to government on priorities and policies that matter to youth.
Aur Hager, 18, from Castlegar, and Maya Provencal, 23, from Rossland, were appointed to the 18-member council. The inaugural council received more than 250 applications.
“Young people have so much to offer when it comes to determining how we move ahead as a province,” said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West. “And having those voices represent every region is so important. The Kootenays are in good hands with Aur and Maya. Congratulations to you both.”
Hager has a passion for the environment and is studying engineering with the hope to have direct impact on communities by helping design solutions for the climate crisis. Hager values volunteerism as a way to improve the world and helped lay the groundwork for a high school peer mentorship program to foster a stronger sense of community.
Provencal’s interests include rural development and environmental communications. She is pursuing a master of arts in community development at the University of Victoria. She is an organizer and advocate for climate justice and is employed by the West Kootenay EcoSociety.
“My generation is set to inherit a world in a state of multiple crises. We are a generation born into the climate crisis, we are pandemic graduates, we are underemployed, housing insecure and many of us are drowning in student debt,” said Provencal.
“But we are also a generation raised into resiliency. We are pioneers of inclusivity. We are highly educated, motivated and dedicated to our communities. We are deserving of a seat at the table. I am honoured to have been selected for the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council and proud of our province for creating space for youth in government. I look forward to having productive conversations on how to bring about lasting change in our communities.”
The council will be chaired by Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson, the premier’s special adviser on youth. They will discuss issues that matter most to young people in areas such as education, employment, income, mental health and the environment. Issues affecting the Kootenay region will also be brought forward to the council table.
“I’m looking forward to working with these remarkable young people to hear first-hand what is needed in the Kootenay to help improve their lives and opportunities,” said Anderson. “These young leaders represent some of the most community-minded young people in our province. Their input will make a difference for their peers and communities, now and for generations to come.”
Council members will serve one-year terms with the option to remain on the council for as long as three years. The first meeting is planned for spring 2022 and will be held quarterly.