OCYA Information for Children & Youth

OCYA Youth Council


Young people are the foundation of what we do at the OCYA. Their involvement in our work through platforms like the OCYA Youth Council helps us to grow our understanding of young people’s rights, interests and viewpoints, and to have those reflected in each area of our organization. The council amplifies young people’s voices, helps increase our understanding of their lived experiences within systems and leads positive change. Their work strengthens our advocacy with and on behalf of young people.

Council members:

The youth council consists of up to 10 sitting members of diverse young people from across Alberta, who have lived experience with child intervention and/or youth justice systems. The council meets bi-monthly to inform the work of the OCYA. They also receive requests to consult from external groups and meet with government leaders to offer their ideas for improving services and supports for young people.

  • Are 14–24 years old
  • Serve terms of two years, with the possibility of extension
  • Have lived experience with child intervention (including the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act) and/or the youth justice system
  • Willing to speak about the challenges and barriers young people face, and have an interest in promoting positive change
  • Are supported by a mentor

Mentors:

Mentors are important contributors to the OCYA Youth Council. Mentors help council members feel supported, stay actively engaged and build confidence in their ability to contribute. We all need someone to talk to who can help us sort out our thoughts and help us to meaningfully share our experiences and ideas for change; mentors support council members in these important ways.

  • Are a supportive adult who may be identified by a young person
  • May be recruited and matched to a young person by the OCYA; young people will not be excluded from participating if they don’t have a mentor
  • Are determined by agreement between young people and council coordinators (OCYA staff)
  • Check in prior to council meetings to see if the young person feels prepared and able to participate
  • Encourage the young person to share their thoughts to the best of their ability, and to help them formulate their thoughts on topics being covered

How to join the council:

Young people can express their interest in joining by calling the OCYA or sending us a short email to let us know how we can best reach you. Supportive adults and allies can also help refer young people. Contact us at 1-800-661-3446 or youthcouncil@ocya.alberta.ca.

Collaborative Inquiries:

If you would like to consult with the OCYA’s Youth Council or explore collaborative opportunities, please connect with our Youth Engagement Coordinator, Lee Bowers at Lee.Bowers@ocya.alberta.ca.

Additional Information:

To learn more about the OCYA Youth Council’s work and the role of council members and mentors, check out the following documents.