Less than three minute update and thank you. Project to raise $100 000 moving along well. Would love your help!
Less than three minute update and thank you. Project to raise $100 000 moving along well. Would love your help!
My MA thesis involves exploring the relative effectiveness of various messages designed to encourage youth to vote. I started researching this topic back last May when my initial thesis proposal was due, but was not able to give it a great deal of time due to my coursework requirements (the other significant element of my MA). Now, the coursework is over for me and I get to concentrate on this one issue.
Although I am looking at a national perspective, I have perhaps found some interesting insights for people seeking to encourage youth to vote in our next civic election in Kamloops.
In 2008, I spent a few hundred dollars and a lot of my time campaigning for a council seat at TRU. Most people involved in my campaign think that effort was largely wasted and inefficient. I did meet some great young people, but not enough.
So what does my research so far suggest?
First, more youth might vote if it is made easier for them. If, for example, City Hall put a polling station or two at TRU or in other places youth congregate, more youth might participate in the election. Perhaps, we could look at providing free transit on election day.
Second, more youth might vote if government was more important to them and seemed more relevant to their lives. This sounds like a pretty obvious truth. The question becomes how can government assume more important and relevance. Non partisan education can help. Also, if the noble parts of government were given some prominence. The media often sees it's role as holding politicians to account, but if more attention was given to highlighting and praising good work, some of the research suggests young people ( and likely many adults) might be interested in paying more attention. There is too much emphasis on the bad things that happen in government.
Third, well organized outreach and mobilization campaigns may help. If a group of young people got together to encourage and, in fact, organize their friends and colleagues to go vote, it could have real impact.
My research is in a preliminary stage. Hopefully, will have more to say.
It was a tremendous honour to be asked by the good folks at Interior Community Services to participate in a really important fundraising effort. I've enrolled in a monthly donation program and am asking readers of YourKamloops.com if you will consider giving what you can - one time or monthly.
Over the past 18 months, the youth outreach workers in our community have assisted over 300 young people in accessing a whole range of services - housing, life skills, health care, and much more. The government funding for this program will run out in spring 2011 and I feel we can raise the requisite funds. We are looking to raise $100 000. Here is a short video and PDFs you can download for more info:Supporting Kamloops Youth Outreach Info Sheet ICS Pre-Authorized Debit - Donations Form 2010
As part of my MA in Professional Communications studies, I am going to be doing a substantial piece of research. I'm hoping I get approved for a thesis (which allows more research time and the ability to conduct interviews / surveys).
What I am planning to research is what voting outreach messages work best to build trust in non voting youth so that they are encouraged to vote.
With voter turnout in Kamloops under 30% in the 2008 civic election, I hope this study will have some relevance to local voter outreach efforts. I think we miss out on so much community wisdom when people are so disengaged from the electoral process. I also think groups who don't vote in great numbers, such as youth, may not see their priorities well reflected in government.
As some may know, I've long been interested in increasing voter turnout at all levels of government. I am hoping my thesis will have national relevance and generally trying to frame the research that way thus far.Still, I'm also really hoping the work will help increase voter turnout in Kamloops.
The Miss Kamloops Ambassador Program (snazzy new web site) offers a great opportunity for young women to develop leadership skills in Kamloops. I wrote about my first time attending the Miss Kamloops crowning event, the pageant, back in 2006.
This Year's pageant is on July 3rd, 2009 at Sagebrush Theatre. Would recommend the evening, its always really interesting and fun.
love travelling by transit. The last few months, I have been in my car
way too much. How I missed letting someone else do the driving while I
read, answered email, or socialized. How I missed the extra, no longer
gas money in my pocket.
Early this month, I bought my bus pass. And I have been trying to schedule so riding the bus is workable with my busy life. .
Today, I went down to the transit exchange to catch a bus to Sahali. As I walked by the bus shelter area, someone from within a crowd of teenagers yelled out "hey, there's Arjun Singh!!!!". I craned my neck in an attempt to spot this enthusiastic person, but only caught a fleeting glimpse of what seemed a young man in amongst all the other people.
I walked to my bus stop on the exchange and sat on the nearest bench. The enthusiastic young man came over. He said, "you are Arjun Singh, aren't you, I've only seen you in the paper". I confirmed that I was indeed me, and the young man shook my hand and sat down beside me.
It was then I noticed the large bottle of Heineken beer in his hand. And I became quite alarmed.
This summer, a very bright young person will be doing a bit of job shadowing with (of?) me. I first met Mairi Lester this past December when she contacted me and expressed an interest in civic issues and public engagement strategies. Mairi took the SFU semester in dialogue, and has recently graduated with a BA, specializing in geography and political science.
It's totally impressive when a young person expresses such an interest and has the chops to seek out ways of learning and growing. This is a very good, and sadly still rare, sign.
We quickly hatched a bit of a plan. I would help Mairi understand better what I do as a member of city council, and Mairi would help me understand better how to better engage people in our community. It's working quite well so far. Thanks Mairi for the fine work you have done and for the good advice you have shared so far. It's been a pleasure and I look forward to a great, productive partnership!
Mairi was a good sport today and let me video a short personal introduction.
I had the honour of attending a Kamloops Junior Achievement reception this evening.
Junior Achievement teaches young people in our area skills business and entrepreneurship skills. One of the best feelings in life is knowing you can be self reliant, and create your own independence, security, and future. This is the huge value of the free enterprise system.
I feel it is very important to have more people in our city start businesses. Too often, we trade our own creativity and happiness for the security of a steady paycheck. People sometimes think you can't have all these things in one package - and going into your own business is certainly an established way. It is difficult to work for yourself, and even harder to have the responsibility of others working for you. But, ultimately, it is very rewarding and very important to our community as a whole.
The skills these young people have started learning through Junior Achievement will hopefully grow exponentially as they live their lives.
Congrats to Gemma Gowling, the person who coordinates all this learning locally!
Last week, Thursday and Friday, I attended the Cities Fit For Children summit for municipalities. I want to thank Val Janz from the local Make Children First organization for encouraging me to go. I learnt a lot about how parent-child interaction is so critical to healthy development for the 0 to 6 years. I also found out what different communities are doing in partnering with school districts to use unused classrooms for preschool and daycare programs. I found an observation from keynoter Suzanne Crowhurst Lennard interesting - she said that high rises are very unfriendly to children and to families and any building should be a maximum of six stories.
I have a page of scrawl that I have yet to process from the sessions - so there may be more to post on takeaways.
My friend, Jordan Bateman, Langely Township Councillor, was also in attendance and his report is here.
I am putting this post into a lot of different categories because Smart Growth can underpin so much in a community. It is not just the intersection of the economy and the environment. It also speaks to social issues, preventing crime, the arts, and so much more.
Today, I attended Smart Growth BC's annual conference. This was a gathering of hundreds. And the topic at hand was how to create happier, healthier, more environmentally friendly, and more profitable communities. It may be a little abstract at first, but Smart Growth makes more and more sense to me every time I hear about it. Of course, its not a perfect philosopy, but it is the best I have seen so far. It is a very holistic approach.
Here are some of the highlights from today:
John Knott Jr leads one of the most ambitious city revitalization projects in the US - the Noisette development in North Charleston, South Carolina. He spoke about building and development as an art form and a service to the human community - not just a way to make money. He talked about good development taking into consideration the history and context of a place - sometimes going back thousands of years. This made me think about how we can incorporate more first nation touchstones in Kamloops development. It made me think of ranches, and river travel. John Knott talked about how green development not necessarily being more expensive, but a simple product of more thorough planning in the beginning. He also talked of an almost moral imperative for developers to help solve social problems in society. He said developers are actually the best placed people to lead the effort. A quote:
"We come together now around what we fear or what we hate - we no longer come together around what we love"
Chris Corps talked about the value propostion in building green. In Kamloops, we have had some conflicting information cost / benefits. But, Chris Corps points to many studies that indicate the benefits - a green building, for example, is a healthier building and consequently inhabitants are healthier, workers are more productive, patients get better faster. Chris was asked whether this may be because any new building, green or not, produces an initial excitement for people inside. He said it may be too early to draw anything conclusive but preliminary data shows green features do have a positive effect on wellbeing. Chris pointed to the Green Value report - very interesting reading.
Whistler is heating their new athletes village using waste water. SFU hosts a new community on Burnaby Mountain - Univercity - a walkable community with a variety of housing options, where the residents are offered a $100 discount on a monthly transit pass. Univercity favours local Burnaby businesses in its retail spaces.
Jonathan Westeinde, with Windmill Developments, spoke a bit about the potential of green development. He maintains that using current technologies and practices, we can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from buildings well below Kyoto Protocol targets within 15 years. He pegged political will as a crucial element - helping to fast track green developments, and providing regulations that can make them successful.
I will be getting all the proceedings from the conference on a CD soon.