The Millennial Town Hall.
By Eileen Duchesne.
Photos and video by Agnieszka Pajor.
The Millennial Town Hall (MTH) was established by the Youth of Today Society; Kwanlin Dun First Nation and Ta’an Kwach’an Council, in 2018. The mission was and is to promote peer-to-peer discussions on issues that impact youth, on a daily basis, and to encourage an honest and meaningful conversation with Yukon politicians and decision makers. The Town Hall is an all inclusive event open to ALL Yukon millennials between the ages of 15-30.
The MTH is organized by and for the young people and is explained by Ta’an Kwach’an Council youth representative Kara Beth Sweeny, at the 2018 event, “There is no doubt the voices of young people have got louder — and a new generation of leaders are coming about. We only need to listen to our peers — attend and participate at various community events — and watch Facebook to see the examples and hear the reasons why. The voices are not necessarily getting louder in protest — young people are not wanting to be the problem — they are attempting to be part of the solution.”
She adds, “As part of one of our summer projects in 2017, we held an impromptu Youth round-table. 19 youth participated — varying in age and backgrounds. Many of the topics discussed are listed as part of the [Town Hall] conversation and we knew these topics were only the ‘tip of the iceberg” when examining the issues, that could be talked about. It was also quickly realized that while many of these issues — opioids, fentanyl, human trafficking, homelessness and mental wellness are far reaching — a good majority are also life-threatening — and each one does not discriminate. It was also realized just how alone and frustrated some of our peers were and are feeling, indicating we must do more to hold each other up.”
Teagyn Vallevand, member of the Kwanlin Dun Youth Advisory Committee also said, “As young people there has never been a better time for us to speak our truth. We need to engage in dialogue on a broad range of issues — and break down the walls and stereotypes that continue to divide and impact our communities. We need to develop a common approach that builds bridges and eliminate gaps — through respectful dialogue, recreation, laughter and learning from the community — and sharing together. And, whether it is realized yet, or not — young people need to play a lead role in reconciliation — especially in the area of strengthening intergenerational relations — and we should be active in developing a generation of leaders and champions — that will define and strengthen relationships — between people not only here in the territory but also across Canada. We cannot do any of this work in isolation. Nor, can we rely on our leaders to have all the answers — We need to be prepared and willing to do our share to champion the road ahead.“
Each year the MTH has gain momentum and the interest from others areas to attend has been expressed. The 2019 Reverse Millennial Town Hall was a collaborative effort by the Youth of Today Society, Kwanlin Dun First Nation Youth Advisory, Ta’an Kwach’an Council, BYTE, Boys and Girls Club and Big Sisters and Big Brothers. Planning sessions for the 2020 MTH will begin in September 2019. If anyone is interested in participating please contact our mentors Lance Burton at firstname.lastname@example.org or Eileen Duchesne at Eileen.Duchesne@kdfn.net .