Youth Voices Rising

Droughts have become commonplace and are intensifying as a result of global warming. 

In 2016, a massive wildfire swept through northern Alberta and severely damaged communities in the Wood Buffalo region and the City of Fort McMurray. 

The Youth Voices Rising (YVR) initiative joined with community partners to support youth engagement and decision-making during the disaster recovery process.

Young people often possess unique and valuable insights, creativity and ideas about how communities can improve recovery after disastrous events. 

The Youth Voices Rising recognized the potential of youth and wished to strengthen youth engagement and their decision-making influence after the massive wildfires in Fort McMurray, and Wood Buffalo, AB.

Learning from the experience and insights of affected youth contributed to an improved understanding of youth engagement and resilience to inform disaster recovery strategies.

Youth Voices Rising engaged with young people (age 14-24) and youth-centred organisations through a creative action research process supported by social media, the creative arts and visual storytelling.

  1. Damaged or changed places disrupted youth’s reliance on places for activities, resources, social ties, sense of continuity, and a connection to the past. 
  2. Places provided strength and offered escape from the post disaster chaos, enabled youth to contribute to recovery, supported physical and psychological need satisfaction, and symbolised strength, renewal, or hope. 
  3. The findings demonstrate the importance of place for young people to recover after disasters and inform future work in this area.