STANLEY BRIDGE, P.E.I. - “What would you do if you were the premier of P.E.I. for a day?” This was one of the questions raised to the diverse panel of six, which included three-time Olympian and native Islander Heather Moyse, during the third annual P.E.I. youth summit held at Stanley Bridge Country Resort, Saturday.
One of the panelists, Adam MacLean pursues land stewardship through pasture lambing in South Melville. He hopes local farms will be connected to government institutions such as schools, hospitals and manors, so vulnerable groups can benefit from high-quality nutrient food.Responses during the panel discussion ranged from accessible public transportation all year round, reduction in greenhouse gasses by holding industries accountable, inspiring more youth into the arts, creating leadership events, to a local food procurement policy for all government institutions.
“These are groups that deserve and often don’t have access to the highest quality of nutrition,” he said. “Parents could use the break from packing the school lunches, which could be hastily done, and some may not have the economic means to pack a truly nutritious lunch,” he said.
“Hospitals are a place of healing and food should be a part of that program. I remember visiting my grandmother in the hospital and bringing in food for her,” reflected MacLean. “A government investment in nutritious locally sourced food would have so many benefits…”
He listed off the benefits that included a positive land impact, boost to the economy, including healthier choices and lives.
“There is a long list that has been implemented from the past year, so we are excited to see what comes out from today,” shared Christina MacLeod, one of the organizers with the firm Volume 18 that helped facilitate YDAY 2018.
“The event is an opportunity to discuss ideas, potential solutions and then partner youth aged 16 to 34 with stakeholders, as well as government officials to see if there have been changes,” she said.
Nouhad Mourad, one of the 72 attendees at the event that ran from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., said YDAY gives youth “not only a voice to be heard, but also amplified.”
Three-time Olympian champion Heather Moyse shared her message and said we are all capable of way more than we think.
The double gold medalist wished those in attendance the courage to make decisions, to have perspective, perseverance, and creativity to think outside the box, as well as believe that it is possible.“My keynote touches on mindset and perspective – the ability to shift your perspective in order to still see the possibilities that exist regardless of whatever challenges you are facing or obstacles that are seemingly standing in your way to achieve your goal.”
Since last year’s YDAY event, 17 recommendations have been considered by the government and are turning into outcomes.
These recommendations include internet for rural P.E.I., connecting newcomers to potential employers, repatriation to encourage Islanders living away to come home, expanded student financial support, expansion of the community service bursary, to name but a few.
Although the panelists came from all different walks of life, when asked why P.E.I. is an ideal place to stay for youth, they all agreed that there’s a tremendous amount of community support.
“There’s an incredible amount of support here, as long as we conduct ourselves with integrity then opportunities will keep coming up,” concluded MacLean.