Two young local leaders have been named to the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council and will provide direct and ongoing feedback to government on priorities and policies that matter to youth.
Thea Wells, 17, and Jacob Tourand, 23, who live in Kamloops, were appointed to the 18-member council. The inaugural council received more than 250 applications.
“Young people are not only our future leaders, they are already taking the lead today,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “Thea and Jacob will make incredible contributions to the committee and our province, and I’m so excited to see them representing the Okanagan.”
Wells has taken on various leadership roles in high school, including participating in the District Student Advisory Council, co-presenting to the board of education on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in school, as well as participating in the District Gender Sexuality Alliance to make schools more inclusive. Wells has been active in community outreach at a local soup kitchen and women’s shelter, and has completed training to be a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Tourand is a proud member of the Métis Nation of British Columbia. He works at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as an Indigenous relations and reconciliation specialist and co-leads their Indigenous Employee Resource Group. Tourand has a passion for creating inclusive and equitable workplaces for all employees.
“I expect that being a part of the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council will be a rewarding and impactful experience and I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate directly with other youth and with government representatives as we explore ways to make a positive difference in the lives of young people across the province,” said Tourand. “I’m hopeful the skills and knowledge I gain through my participation on the council will help me in my future advocacy for my community and for young people in B.C.”
The council will be chaired by Brittny Anderson, the premier’s special adviser on youth. They will discuss issues that matter most to young people in areas such as education, employment, income, mental health and the environment. Issues affecting the Thompson-Okanagan region will also be brought forward to the council table.
“I’m looking forward to working with these remarkable young people to hear first-hand what is needed in the Thompson-Okanagan to help improve their lives and opportunities,” said Anderson. “These young leaders represent some of the most community-minded young people in our province. Their input will make a difference for their peers and communities, now and for generations to come.”
Council members will serve one-year terms with the option to remain on the council for up to three terms. The first meeting is planned for spring 2022 and will be held quarterly.
“I’m glad to see the diversity of our province reflected in the membership of our first StrongerBC Young Leaders Council,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “The pandemic has exposed inequalities that we can’t ignore. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work with the council to tackle the pressing issues they care about, including building an economy that works for more British Columbians in every corner of our province.”
The StrongerBC Young Leaders Council supports the B.C. government’s commitment to an inclusive, innovative and sustainable economic recovery for everyone who lives in B.C.
Find out more about the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council:
Read the biographies of StrongerBC Young Leaders Council members: