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This year, the Community Foundations of Canada decided to concentrate our national Vital Signs report on youth issues – collecting disparate research from many sources to create a more complete picture of Canada's young people.
We found the predictable trajectory that guided the lives of the previous generation is gone. Today's youth are growing up in an era of complexity and uncertainty. Changes have delayed, or even destroyed, the landmarks that once signaled a transition from one phase of life to another.
While these findings indicate some big challenges in key domains, today's youth are also nimble and passionate. They are comfortable with rapidly changing technology and quickly plug into emerging global issues. More than 8 in 10 teens say trust and honesty are "very important" to them and 75% of 12-19 year-olds report the highest level of attachment to community.
We know we need to take steps to maximize the use of young people's skills and contributions, ensure continued health and well-being, increase young people's sense of community, of civic engagement and connection, and close the gap between those with, and without, opportunity.
The goal of Vital Youth and the Vital Youth Dialogue is to be a catalyst for community conversations. Convened with the support of Deloitte, on October 3, 2012, CFC will host its first Vital Youth Dialogue in Ottawa, moving beyond reporting on national youth issues to engaging youth in a creative, forward-thinking conversation.
The highly-interactive, solutions-focused day will serve as a prototype for similar discussions at the CFC 2013 Conference in Winnipeg next June and in communities nationally.
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