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Latest Update:

The purpose of the HEAL Youth Advisory Council (HEALYAC) is to integrate youth voices, perspectives, and expertise into our research on young people’s health and wellbeing. As part of the operational structure of our lab, the HEALYAC is how we implement an overarching participatory approach that sees research as with and for youth, as opposed to solely on youth. By establishing a YAC, we are positioning youth input as integral to shaping both the wider strategic directions and priorities of our lab, and decision-making at the level of specific projects.

Purpose of the YAC:

Our Values:

The concept of the YAC is rooted in our values as a lab. We believe that youth perspectives are necessary to ensure the integrity and quality of our research, so that our research has the greatest potential to improve the health and wellbeing of youth. Considering that we have similar values, both the adult and youth researchers at the HEALab also have a collective goal of improving the health of young people within the London community, and our partnership will assist in the production of social change, both in research practice and health policy.

We also see our relationship with the HEALYAC as a two way street: youth advise HEALab projects and directions, ensuring relevance and resonance to strengthen our work, and youth receive leadership experience and research training and education. Diversity is one of our core values, and we believe that a diverse group of youth who bring varied experiences and perspectives to the table is central to advancing the mission of the HEALYAC.

WHAT DO YOUTH GAIN AS A YAC MEMBER?:

  1. First-hand academic research experience through exposure to the HEALab environment.
  2. Develop leadership skills in an advisory capacity role.
  3. Participate in research activities, either on specific roles in data collection and analysis or as youth co-researchers, where possible.
  4. Enhance professional development through opportunities embedded throughout HEALYAC activities.
  5. Collaborate on local community initiatives where possible.
  6. Mentorship from HEALab staff and development of positive youth-adult relationships.
  7. Participate in HEALab projects/activities that align with their interests, where possible.

WHAT DO YAC MEMBERS DO?:

  1. Advise on strategic directions of the HEALab and research priorities.
  2. Provide input on research instruments.
  3. Provide input on research design.
  4. Advise on study recruitment/retention strategies for HEAL studies.
  5. Ensure relevance and readability of publications/research products aimed at youth.
  6. Consult as needed on HEALab research and community outreach initiatives.
  7. Attend and participate in bi-weekly (sometimes monthly) meetings from November – June, and attend a 1-day orientation session on October 20th (mandatory).
  8. Collaborate with one another to develop and communicate new ideas to lab representatives.

Are you a high school student? Are you interested in developing your leadership skills? Do you want to be involved with youth research in your community? If so, we want to hear from you!

Follow us on Instagram @heal.yac for updates! If you are interested in learning more about our YAC contact us at healyac@uwo.ca

WANT TO JOIN THE YAC?

We are looking for new HEALYAC members to join our council for the 2020-2021 term. Apply today!

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

DEADLINE to apply: Sunday, Sept. 25th (11:59pm)

Here’s what we’re looking for:

We welcome applications from youth of all genders, sexualities, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and neighbourhoods, and we are committed to accessibility.

To be a part of the advisory council, you must be:

  • Between the ages of 13 and 18 years (high school age)
  • Living in London-Middlesex, Elgin-St. Thomas, or Oxford counties
  • Able to attend online bi-weekly meetings on Fridays from 3:30- 5:00 PM between November 2020 and June 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all meetings will be held online via Zoom conferencing software.

The selection process will be conducted through an online application and a formal interview by staff and youth leaders.

If an applicant is not selected for the HEALYAC, we will work with them to find other volunteer opportunities at the HEALab that align with their interests, but cannot guarantee this.

For more information, feel free to look at our draft Terms of Reference or contact us at healyac@uwo.ca.

Gabriela Guisandes
Youth Co-Facilitator
Suraj Paul
Communications Officer
Timothy-Jireh Dela Cruz
Social Media Officer
Ricardo Soto
University Representative
Bhargav Kandlakuti
Youth Co-Facilitator
Laila Girum
University Representative
Tanya Iwas
Member
Aliana Manji
Community Outreach Coordinator
Ross Jones
Member
Christy Nsengiyumva
Member
Madison Seabrook
Member
Purushoth Megarajah
Member
Grace O'Connor
Member
Sofia Kebede
Member
Hafsa Syeda
Member
Waleigh Jia
Member
Jacob Joseph
Member
Piya Tewari
Member
Kate Johnson
Member
Raina Wen
Member
Aliana Manji
Eleanor Park
Suraj Paul
Timothy-Jireh Dela Cruz
Andrea Tuca
Bhargav Kandlakuti
Christy Nsengiyumva
Gabriela Guisandes
Hadeel Najeh
Harjaap Khela
Laila Girum
Madison Seabrook
Danielle Njoh
Purushoth Megarajah
Ricardo Soto
Ross Jones
Tanya Iwas
Yoon-Ha Park
Ahad Mahmood
Krishna Arunkumar
Suraj Paul
Aliana Manji
Anika Garg
Eleanor Park
Morgan Seabrook
Neha Siddiqui
Owen Leung
Riley Van Overberghe
Sally Yang
Timothy-Jireh Dela Cruz
Virginia Guisandes
Yousef Said
Ahad Mahmood
Suraj Paul
Krishna Arunkumar

Our names are Ahad Mahmood (Left), Krishna Arunkumar (Right) and Suraj Paul (Middle) and we are the youth leadership team working with the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL) to develop and implement a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) for the HEAL. The HEAL conducts research to create healthier communities in London, Ontario and surrounding areas with a focus on young people’s health. The HEAL believes that research should be for and with youth, not only on youth. In order to implement this principle, they decided to create a Youth Advisory Council for the lab. The idea is that youth perspectives are essential to ensuring that HEAL research has the best chance of improving the health and well-being of youth. It’s also a two-way street: youth advise HEAL projects and directions, and youth receive leadership experience and opportunities to learn about research. We are currently developing a more efficient model for our YAC in what we are calling a youth-driven planning.

We have created a draft terms of reference which entails all the functions and goals of the YAC and the responsibilities of its members. We’ve met with various individuals who have given us unique insights into how we can develop a council that allows its members to feel included and heard. For our next steps, we are improving our terms of reference and contacting more individuals for advice and feedback on our ideas for the YAC in the coming 2019-2020 year.

The YAC will be established once the group attains a 10-14 member group. We hope to attract youth from different places, with different experiences, and various backgrounds so that our YAC benefits from diverse perspectives. There will be an application process which we are currently finalizing; however, candidates who aren’t selected for the YAC are encouraged to become involved in other volunteer opportunities at the HEAL. The team will work in tandem with the HEALab by sharing ideas and thoughts about different research projects going on around the lab.

The HEALYAC kickstarted the new term ‘zoom style’ with their orientation

On October 23rd, the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory Youth Advisory Council (HEALYAC) had their orientation for the 2020-21 term, where…

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The HEALYAC kickstarted the new term ‘zoom style’ with their orientation
Get your application in before the September 25th deadline!

Get your application in before the September 25th deadline!

We are looking for new HEALYAC members to join our council for the 2020-2021 term. CLICK HERE TO APPLY HERE…

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HEALYAC Black Lives Matter (BLM) Statement

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HEAL youth advisory council bring a youth voice to Ontario’s new rules for vaping

HEAL youth advisory council bring a youth voice to Ontario’s new rules for vaping

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HEAL awarded CIHR’s Health Effects of Vaping Catalyst Grants

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HEAL awarded CIHR’s Health Effects of Vaping Catalyst Grants
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Generation Vape: HEAL youth advisory council bring a youth voice to the conversation

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YAC1819 Meeting 17

YAC1819 Meeting 17

During this meeting the HEALYAC evaluated and edited the Vaping Position statement. Members discussed where to send this, including media,…

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YAC1819 Meeting 15 and 16

During this meeting, the HEALYAC underwent a formal YAC-YAC run- through of the program. Every detail about the event was…

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YAC1819 Meeting 15 and 16
YAC1819 Meeting 14

YAC1819 Meeting 14

Members continued brainstorming ideas for the YAC-YAC event. Formal planning and preparation for the YAC-YAC continued during this meeting. Invitations…

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YAC1819 Meeting 13

Members continued brainstorming ideas for the YAC-YAC event. Formal planning and preparation for the YAC-YAC continued during this meeting. Invitations…

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YAC1819 Meeting 13

YAC1819 Meeting 12

Members continued brainstorming ideas for the YAC-YAC event. Formal planning and preparation for the YAC-YAC commenced during this meeting. Afterwards,…

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YAC1819 Meeting 10 and 11

During meeting 10 and meeting 11, the youth completed writing the PCR statements on vaping from last meeting. Members also…

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YAC1819 Meeting 10 and 11
YAC1819 Meeting 9

YAC1819 Meeting 9

During Meeting 9, members welcomed Dr. Kristen Reilly as one of our new Staff Co-Facilitators of the HEALYAC.  Afterwards, members…

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YAC1819 Meeting 8

During meeting 8, the HEALYAC provided their opinions on Drew Bowman’s Food Advertisement study and provided feedback through a survey…

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YAC1819 Meeting 8
YAC1819 Meeting 7

YAC1819 Meeting 7

For meeting 7, a guest speaker from the Western Research Ethics Board, Katelyn Harris, went into great depth on research…

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YAC1819 Meeting 6

During this meeting HEAL Master’s student, Drew Bowman, and Staff Co-Facilitator, approached the HEALYAC for input on her food environment…

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YAC1819 Meeting 6
YAC1819 Meeting 5

YAC1819 Meeting 5

To increase collaboration within our council, HEALYAC members began testing out the functionality of “Slack,” an online communication method, to…

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YAC1819 Meeting 4

During meeting 4, the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory discussed the importance of research ethics with our council. As an introduction,…

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YAC1819 Meeting 4
YAC1819 Meeting 3

YAC1819 Meeting 3

During our third YAC meeting, we had master’s students, Drew Bowman and Alexander Wray, present their research projects and education.…

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YAC1819 Meeting 2

During our second HEAL YAC meeting, guest speaker Dr. Christina Ergler, from the University of Otago presented her research conducted…

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YAC1819 Meeting 2
YAC1819 Meeting 1

YAC1819 Meeting 1

During our first HEAL YAC meeting of the 2018-19 year, Western University PhD student of HEAL, Brenton Button presented his…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 17

          In this meeting, the HEALYAC is glad to announce the success in achieving the CIHR…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 17
HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 16

HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 16

         For the HEALYAC 17th meeting, the council was informed of the status of the QuaranTEENing project…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 15

         The first official meeting of the extended season started today. A rundown of the meeting times,…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 15
HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 14

HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 14

         In this meeting, the council discussed plans for the upcoming term (2020-2021) for the HEALYAC. At…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 13

The major focus of Meeting 13 was to design and review materials for the new research project that the HEALYAC…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 13
HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 12

HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 12

           In this meeting, the HEALYAC was informed of the approval from the HEALab regarding the…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 11

During this meeting, Drew Bowman and Megan Graat, who are research associates at the HEAL, reviewed the vaping grant brainstorming…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 11
HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 10

HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 10

         Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the YAC meeting was moved to an online setting. During this…

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Generation Vape: HEAL youth advisory council bring a youth voice to the conversation

On March 10, 2020, representatives from the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory Youth Advisory Council (HEALYAC) presented at Generation Vape: The new era of lung injury,…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 9

HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 9

          In this meeting, Drew Bowman introduced the YAC to a grant offered by the Canadian…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 8

The MLHU staff from the last meeting made another visit for further analysis of their vaping campaign. The council was…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 8
HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 7

HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 7

         The YAC was glad to have the Middlesex- London Health Unit (MLHU) staff, Tanya Verhaeghe, Linda…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 6

An online meeting was held to accommodate YAC members during high school exam season. In this meeting, the YAC was…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 6
HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 5

HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 5

          Following the viewing of the documentary of Henrietta Lack’s life, the YAC discussed the ethical…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 4

           In this meeting, the HEAL staff and YAC discussed the potential creation of subcommittees. It…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 4
HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 3

HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 3

For our third meeting, Katelyn Harris, a member from Western's Research Ethics Boards (REB), came in to discuss research ethics…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 2

       Emma Ostermeier, a master’s student from the HEAL, introduced the YAC to ACT-i-Pass, one of the programs…

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HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 2
HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 1

HEALYAC 2019-2020: Meeting 1

          As the first meeting of the HEALYAC 2019-2020 council, the new members of the YAC,…

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HEAL youth advisory council calls to prohibit vaping in schools

London’s youth are troubled by the rising prevalence of vaping in public schools and are calling on local, provincial and…

Read more
HEAL youth advisory council calls to prohibit vaping in schools

YAC1819 Meeting 17

During this meeting the HEALYAC evaluated and edited the Vaping Position statement. Members discussed where to send this, including media,…

Read more
YAC1819 Meeting 17
YAC1819 Meeting 15 and 16

YAC1819 Meeting 15 and 16

During this meeting, the HEALYAC underwent a formal YAC-YAC run- through of the program. Every detail about the event was…

Read more

YAC1819 Meeting 14

Members continued brainstorming ideas for the YAC-YAC event. Formal planning and preparation for the YAC-YAC continued during this meeting. Invitations…

Read more
YAC1819 Meeting 14
YAC1819 Meeting 13

YAC1819 Meeting 13

Members continued brainstorming ideas for the YAC-YAC event. Formal planning and preparation for the YAC-YAC continued during this meeting. Invitations…

Read more

YAC1819 Meeting 12

Members continued brainstorming ideas for the YAC-YAC event. Formal planning and preparation for the YAC-YAC commenced during this meeting. Afterwards,…

Read more
YAC1819 Meeting 12
YAC1819 Meeting 10 and 11

YAC1819 Meeting 10 and 11

During meeting 10 and meeting 11, the youth completed writing the PCR statements on vaping from last meeting. Members also…

Read more

YAC1819 Meeting 9

During Meeting 9, members welcomed Dr. Kristen Reilly as one of our new Staff Co-Facilitators of the HEALYAC.  Afterwards, members…

Read more
YAC1819 Meeting 9
YAC1819 Meeting 8

YAC1819 Meeting 8

During meeting 8, the HEALYAC provided their opinions on Drew Bowman’s Food Advertisement study and provided feedback through a survey…

Read more

YAC1819 Meeting 7

For meeting 7, a guest speaker from the Western Research Ethics Board, Katelyn Harris, went into great depth on research…

Read more
YAC1819 Meeting 7
YAC1819 Meeting 6

YAC1819 Meeting 6

During this meeting HEAL Master’s student, Drew Bowman, and Staff Co-Facilitator, approached the HEALYAC for input on her food environment…

Read more

YAC1819 Meeting 5

To increase collaboration within our council, HEALYAC members began testing out the functionality of “Slack,” an online communication method, to…

Read more
YAC1819 Meeting 5
YAC1819 Meeting 4

YAC1819 Meeting 4

During meeting 4, the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory discussed the importance of research ethics with our council. As an introduction,…

Read more

YAC1819 Meeting 3

During our third YAC meeting, we had master’s students, Drew Bowman and Alexander Wray, present their research projects and education.…

Read more
YAC1819 Meeting 3
YAC1819 Meeting 2

YAC1819 Meeting 2

During our second HEAL YAC meeting, guest speaker Dr. Christina Ergler, from the University of Otago presented her research conducted…

Read more

YAC1819 Meeting 1

During our first HEAL YAC meeting of the 2018-19 year, Western University PhD student of HEAL, Brenton Button presented his…

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YAC1819 Meeting 1
Introducing our Youth Advisory Council!

Introducing our Youth Advisory Council!

Are you a high school student? Are you interested in developing your leadership skills? Do you want to be involved…

Read more

2020-2021

*September 20, 2020

– HEALYAC Application Forms for the 2020-2021 council year closes (Deadline for Online Forms).

*September 4, 2020

– HEALYAC Application Forms for the 2020-2021 council year opens! Join us!

2019-2020

*July 23, 2019

-Application Forms for HEALYAC members open.

 

*October 5, 2019

-Online Forms Deadline
-Application Forms close and no further applications will be accepted.

 

*October 9 – 10, 2019

-Interviews

 

*October 17, 2019

 
*October 23, 2019

-Orientation day
-After selection of YAC members, an orientation day will take place, this meeting will include presentations, games, and general information about the HEALab and HEALYAC (food provided!).

 
*November 6, 2019

– During Meeting 1 we covered some housekeeping items; discussed a grant on climate change and mental health, completed our HEALYAC values activity from orientation; wrote out our member profiles; discussed vaping advertising; and covered some final action items.

2018-2019

*July 25, 2018

-Application Forms for HEALYAC members open.

 

*September 8 – 9, 2018

-Information sessions for interested individuals will be held at the HEALab at Western University.

 

*September 28, 2018

-Online Forms Deadline
-Application Forms close and no further applications will be accepted.

 

*October 10 – 12, 2018

-Interviews

 

*October 20, 2018

-Orientation day
-After selection of YAC members, one orientation day will take place, this meeting will include presentations, games, and general information about the HEALab and HEALYAC (food will be provided!).

 

*November 1, 2018

-PhD student of HEAL, Brenton Button presented his PhD research on the Spatial Temporal Environment and Activity Monitoring Project as well as Karen, a recent Master’s of Public Health graduate from the HEAL, also spoke with the YAC on the SmartAPPetite project and her research.

 

*November 15, 2018

-Dr. Christina Ergler from the University of Otago, presented one of her recent research projects that she conducted in Auckland, New Zealand. The study explored the topic of youth activity levels in a densely populated area versus a suburban area. Ergler enhanced participation by allowing children themselves to become researchers.

 

*November 29, 2018

-Drew Bowman and Alexander Wray, both Master’s students, present their respective studies. Bowman introduced her study on the food environment audits and Wray presented his study on urban planning.

 

*February 14, 2019

-A guest speaker from the Western Research Ethics Board, Katelyn Harris, went into great depth within the topic of research ethics and gave members her perspective of what it is like when approving studies or sending them back for revision.

 

*February 28, 2019

-AJ Wray and Suraj Paul gave a presentation about PCR Statements (Principle, Concern, Recommendation) to the HEALYAC.

 

*March 21, 2019

-Members welcomed Dr. Kristen Reilly as one of the new Staff Co-Facilitators of the HEALYAC.

 

*June 8, 2019

-The HEAL conducted the YACYAC

Youth Advisory Coalition of Youth Advisory Council (YAC YAC)

The Youth Advisory Coalition of Youth Advisory Councils (YAC-YAC), was hosted by the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory Youth Advisory Council (HEAL-YAC). YAC-YAC is a conference that was dedicated to facilitating collaboration among youth from various youth groups in London, Ontario. Members of the HEALYAC started planning the YAC-YAC since February of 2019 by contacting other youth councils in London, designing a logo, ordering shirts and other YAC SWAG, coming up with activity ideas during the conference, and much more. The YAC-YAC conference took place Saturday, June 8 from 1 – 5 pm located at Innovation Works (201 King St. London, Ontario).

Groups had the opportunity to gain and share diverse perspectives, learn how other groups approach and solve youth-related issues, and network with other youth in the London community.  Groups entered a fun, supportive, and inclusive environment that included icebreaker activities, giveaways, ‘SWAG Bags’, contests, pizza, and much more.

There were two goals for this conference and both these goals were met. The first was to highlight the importance of youth perspectives and voices in the community. The second was to provide youth with problem-solving tools and skills, enabling youth to make a change within their community. These goals were accomplished through engaging and collaborative breakout and activity sessions, such as a ‘meet & greet’ where youth groups networked with one another and shared their council’s mission statements and interests. Another was the ‘position statement’ activity, where youth were divided into groups and worked as a team to write position statements about particular issues related to youth. There was also a ‘rapid debate’ activity where youth discussed topics that affected them and their community. Throughout the conference, the youth had multiple opportunities to express their diverse perspectives as well as listen to the voices of other youth.

For the first conference hosted by the HEALYAC, we received great feedback from youth who attended the event through a post-conference survey, which the HEALYAC administered at the end of the conference. Some things attendees of the YAC-YAC conference said were “I liked being able to collaborate with other youth and hear so many diverse opinions,” “This event helped me learn more about youth in London and about all the interesting opportunities that are available for youth,” and “I really liked sharing opinions in a big group.”

Learn more about the YAC-YAC conference on the HEALYAC Instagram page (@heal.yac).

If you have questions about our YAC development, or if you have advice to share, please contact us at healyac@uwo.ca.