Burlington, Ont., May 15, 2012 - Burlington has been named a gold-level youth-friendly community by Play Works: The Ontario Partnership for Active and Engaged Youth.
Burlington was officially recognized at a ceremony at Queen's Park on April 30, 2012. The event was hosted by the Honourable Eric Hoskins, Minister of Children and Youth Services. Mayor Rick Goldring, accompanied by Burlington Teen Tour Band drum major Chris Harrison and Youthfest representative Dan Taylor, accepted the designation on behalf of the city.
"Our youth represent our future," said Mayor Goldring. "We're working hard to create a city that engages and develops our young people, and you see the payoff every day all across Burlington."
A youth-friendly community is one that actively supports and provides opportunities for the growth and development of youth, ages 13 to 19, through play, including sport; recreation; drama; dance; music; the arts; volunteerism; leadership development; service leadership; and/or civic engagement.
"Parks and recreation has a very specific role," says Chris Glenn, director of parks and recreation. "On a basic level, we offer sports and leisure activities, but the depth of the programming and volunteer opportunities helps our youth grow into fully engaged members of the larger Burlington community."
Play Works has been conferring Youth-Friendly status since 2004. Burlington was originally recognized friendly in 2005, and re-applied for the status in late 2010. The selection process requires communities to meet at least 10 of 16 youth-friendly criteria including providing opportunities for play, youth engagement, accessible programs and safe places and spaces for youth. Burlington achieved 15 of the 16 criteria, earning a gold rating.
"I congratulate staff on the hard work that goes into making Burlington such a great place to live," said Scott Stewart, general manager community services. "Our youth-centred programs, parks and facilities help make Burlington one of the best home towns in Canada. This really is a youth-friendly city."
The Play Works review team noted several outstanding programs, including: