St. Marys and Perth South hosting Perth4Youth Open House & Discussion

Municipalities seeking input on how to keep youth in rural communities

As part of the county-wide Perth4Youth project, the Town of St. Marys and Township of Perth South are hosting an Open House & Discussion on Wednesday, March 8, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Pyramid Recreation Centre. The event is open to all and is an opportunity to gather input on how to attract and retain youth in local rural communities.

Many rural communities across Ontario are facing declining populations of youth. In the previous census period, all rural municipalities in Perth County, the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Marys lost youth aged 15 to 29.To address this, Perth County, the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Marys are partnering on the Perth4Youth project – a strategic planning initiative focused on identifying and addressing the issues and opportunities that affect the attraction and retention of youth.

Laurel Davies Snyder, the Town’s Manager of Economic Development & Culture, is managing the St. Marys Team. “This project focuses on assisting young people with making the transition from education to employment, aligning the support provided by different stakeholders and determining what new types of support may be required,” said Davies Snyder. “The aim of Perth4Youth is to develop a Youth Attraction Strategy that incorporates input from a broad cross-section of the population.”

At the Open House & Discussion, the Perth4Youh Project Team is hoping to get opinions on a number of issues, including:

· What resources do youth use for learning about training, education and career opportunities? What is missing?

· What tools and opportunities do youth need to build a successful future in rural Ontario? Are there specific skills that youth would like to learn?

· What are the challenges to finding a job and building a future in rural Ontario?

Representatives from the Town of St. Marys and the Township of Perth South will also be meeting with existing groups of youth and launching a confidential online survey on Friday, March 3. The survey will be available at www.townofstmarys.com until Friday, March 24.

“We want to find out if youth feel connected to their communities and if they see a future in rural Ontario,” said Davies Snyder. “We want to help them find attainable and relevant opportunities to develop the skills, knowledge and experience needed to become connected leaders and active participants in the community.”

If you have questions about this project or would like to participate, please contact Laurel Davies Snyder at 519-284-2340 ext. 272 or ldaviessnyder@town.stmarys.on.ca.

This initiative is a partnership with the municipalities of Perth County, the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Marys, and facilitated by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

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