A dozen young Islanders have been named inaugural members of the Youth Futures Council.
“Youth in this province have said they want to help make decisions on policies and services that affect their own lives,” said Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Richard Brown. “The Youth Futures Council is a vital first step toward creating this new reality where youth feel empowered and their voices can be heard.”
The Council’s ultimate goal is to increase youth retention and attraction so more young people choose to set roots here in Prince Edward Island. The 12 inaugural members are between the ages of 16 and 29, and represent diverse areas of the province as well education levels, economic and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, stages of life, and work experience.
The Council is intended to:
• provide input and advice on issues related to and affecting young Islanders;
• advise the Premier and ministers on how to enhance existing youth-oriented programs, policies, strategies, and resources;
• lead community engagement sessions and activities to infuse a broad range of youth voices into government decision-making;
• work closely with government to address matters of interest and concerns of young Islanders;
• act as a sounding board for departments during planning and policy development;
• engage youth in current and developing government processes, frameworks, and consultations; and
• assist in youth retention strategies.
The Youth Futures Council is a provincial initiative led by the Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning. For more information on youth initiatives, visit www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/youth Backgrounder
Youth Futures Council Members:
Alexandra Dalton—Having grown up on a beef and potato farm outside of O’Leary, Alexandra Dalton moved to New Brunswick for eight years for her postsecondary education. During her studies, she volunteered extensively within executive positions with UNB International Law Society; UNB’s Law Pro Bono Students Canada Chapter; the Atlantic International Studies Organization and she was an elected councillor at Mount Allison University’s Students’ Administrative Council. Having moved back to PEI permanently in the spring of 2015, Alexandra would speak to the challenges young people face in returning to the Island, notably surrounding employment issues.
Emma Huestis—At age of 17, Emma Huestis is an active member of her community. She is a member of the Millview-Vernon River 4H Club. Through this membership, she has gained leadership skills as a senior member on the planning committee for fundraisers. Emma is also a student representative on her school’s District Advisory Council and has been fortunate to bring a number of important issues to the attention of government on behalf of her peers. Her next project includes volunteering with the Canadian Parents for French where she hopes to start a club to encourage French immersion students to practice their language skills outside of the classroom. Her experiences will provide great insight to the Council on the topics of French literacy, education, and agriculture.
Robert Larson—From an early age, Robert Larson has expressed keen interest in community involvement. Throughout his high school career, he has played a key role with the Student Government Council at Three Oaks Senior High School. This year, he is leading the Council as President. Robert’s past experience as Chair on the Constitution and Bylaws Committee will lend greatly to the work of the Youth Futures Council as it reviews policies and programs within government relating directing to young Islanders. Robert has also been involved with the Albany Centennial 4H Club for eight years, two of which he spent as President. His leadership and experience surrounding the high school demographic will provide insight to the Council surrounding the transition from high school to postsecondary and into the labour force.
Kenzie Lund—Identified as an emerging young leader, Kenzie Lund is currently in grade 11 at Three Oaks Senior High. This is her second year on the Youth Who Care Board at the Prince County Hospital. In her role on the Board, she has assisted in fundraisers and monthly Board meetings. Kenzie believes membership with the Youth Futures Council will provide her with an opportunity to give back to her community. With ten years of dance experience, Kenzie will also bring an arts and cultural lens to the Council.
Nicole Mountain— A graduate of Holland College and UPEI, Nicole Mountain has experience in marketing, public relations, and event planning. Her past advocacy work with the Cancer Society has been surrounding healthy living, including advocating for tanning bed regulations, a smoke-free campus at UPEI, and a catastrophic drug program on PEI. She is currently working on developing an organization that will give youth in smaller PEI communities a voice. Apart from her passion on the above topics, she has assisted in planning 13 Relay for Life events (eight of which she’s been the event Chair), acted as a Student Rep on the Curriculum Advisory Board for the Holland College Marketing program, student facilitator for Holland College Orientation Week, and a volunteer with the IWK.
Tyler Murnaghan— At the young age of 22, Tyler Murnaghan is an Island leader for diversity. Volunteering with the Brain Injury Association of PEI, Pride PEI, and the Adventure Group, Tyler understands firsthand the needs of vulnerable, at-risk, youth living with life-altering disabilities and youth associated with the LGBTQ+ community. Apart from his work with these organizations, Tyler advocates for youth engagement (as seen through his work as a Candidate for Ward 6 in the 2014 Municipal Election in Charlottetown). He also considers himself a young entrepreneur, creating Tyler’s Temptations during his time with the Young Millionaires Program.
Taya Nabuurs—Since starting her university career two years ago, Taya Nabuurs displays incredible passion about issues facing today’s youth, and advocates these issues through her involvement with the UPEI Student Union Advocacy Team. Taya is one of the leading youth on PEI advocating for increased youth participation in the political process. She was highly involved in the Get-Out-The-Vote campaign during both the provincial and federal elections, and is currently employed as a public education officer with Elections PEI and works hard to overcome voter apathy. Other volunteering activities include writing for the Cadre (UPEI), the UPEI International Buddy Program, and a leadership role in the Political Science Society. Taya is excited for her new position as Director of Communications for the UPEI Student Union and will be an excellent resource for the Youth Futures Council.
Luke Poirier— With roots in rural, western PEI, and a member of the Acadian community, Luke Poirier believes the sciences are often overlooked and has spent most of his academic career being an advocate for outreach in the science community. During his undergraduate degree, he was heavily involved in the Biology Society. During his two graduate programs, Luke has maintained strong ties with programs that encourage and foster science education. Recently, he was named the coordinator for “Let’s Talk Science” at UPEI, which conducts science and technology outreach to local public schools to provide fun and educational hands-on activities for children. While he no longer serves in the coordinator position, he continues to volunteer with the group. Luke believes graduate school grants the opportunity to truly make a difference which was the primary reason for returning home to UPEI for his doctoral studies. He was recently recognized by 21inc. as “Top 50 under 40 Emerging Leaders in Atlantic Canada.”
John Ployer— Currently a grade twelve honors student at Montague Regional High School, John Ployer believes in the power of communities and individuals in making their communities. He is currently in his 9th year as a 4H member in the Grand River East 4H Club and his second year as club president. His interest in impacting communities stems from his experience with PEI Farmers Helping Farmers, where he was selected as one of 11 youth to participate to a trip to Kenya in the summer of 2015. He had the opportunity to volunteer on farms, in schools, and at an orphanage. John is currently an executive on the Student Council at his school and is his school’s representative as a Page for the Legislative Assembly of PEI.
Adam Ross —While currently residing in Stratford, Adam Ross grew up in Eastern Kings and was very involved in sporting organizations in the area, as well as in his high school as Student Council President of Montague Regional High School. After graduating, Adam attended both Holland College and UPEI where he recently completed the Executive Master of Business Administration program. As Director of Aquatics & Programming at the Bell Aliant Centre and Provincial Lifeguard Coordinator, Adam also has amassed considerable management experience to bring to the Youth Futures Council.
Moira Shaw — Moira Shaw’s education and training brought her to the United States until September 2015 when she returned to rural PEI. Currently residing in Bloomfield, Moira is eager to re-establish her community connections in Western PEI by providing her services as a volunteer to the Prince County Exhibition and the Bloomfield 4-H Club. Her role as a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist allows her to work with many children whom she is keen to improve the future for in PEI.
Ali Younis—After immigrating to PEI and completing his Bachelor of Business Administration degree at UPEI, Ali Younes has already established himself as a successful entrepreneur at the young age of 25. Among his successful ventures are two restaurants (Pizza and Poutine Co. in Charlottetown, and Mussels and Bubbles in Cavendish), a food truck, a grocery store (Mango, with locations in Summerside and Charlottetown) and, most recently, a brick manufacturing facility (the PEI Brick Company in Crapaud). To share the lessons he has already learned Ali has already begun to give back to future students by appearing as a guest lecturer and assisting with the feasibility of their future business plans. Ali brings a high level of management and business acumen to the Youth Futures Council.