Corp Comm Connects

Aurora hits platinum levels when it comes to being youth-friendly
April 18, 2019
Teresa Latchford

Aurora has been deemed a youth-friendly community.

The town has recently joined an elite list of municipalities in Ontario committed to serving youth and has earned a Platinum Youth Friendly designation for its efforts.

The Youth Friendly Community Recognition Program of Play Works acknowledges communities that have invested in various opportunities for youth in recreation, sports, arts, drama, dance, volunteerism and leadership development.

These communities must meet several criteria that demonstrate a strong commitment to engaging youth between the ages of 13 to 19.

“As a growing community, it is critical that we provide our children and teens with the space and freedom to play and learn in a supportive environment. Our staff work closely with young people in Aurora to develop programs that evolve as they evolve and grow,” Mayor Tom Mrakas said. “I’m incredibly proud we have been recognized.”

Play Works is a group of organizations concerned about the future of youth and focuses on bringing back the power of play to youth in Ontario. The recognition program recognizes communities across Ontario, like Aurora, that meet the changing needs of adolescent youth.

“We are always looking at opportunities to engage young people in healthy activities that will give them the tools and support to make positive lifestyle choices,” community services director Robin McDougall said.

The town previously received the Play Works Silver Youth Friendly designation in 2016. The move to platinum required connecting and empowering youth to express themselves and have a continuous voice in the community. Recognition levels include bronze, silver, gold and platinum and each designation is valid for three years.

One of the most successful youth engagement initiatives in Aurora is the town’s Youth Engagement Committee (Y.E.C.). This committee is made up of a group of youth ages 12 to 17 who serve to guide and advise town youth staff on appropriate programs, special events and services for youth in Aurora.

Since its inception, Y.E.C. has contributed through the naming and designing of the Aurora Youth Centre, promotion of youth events and opportunities, developing and running youth events such as the Quizlympics Trivia Contest, Youth Week and Open Mic Night.