Hamilton City Hall Credit: Joey Coleman / The Public Record

The Our Future Hamilton strategic plan and community engagement staff tabled their annual update to Council this week.
In the report, they outlined activities from the past year.
Among the highlights, the “Chase the Future: 2041” engagement in elementary schools city-wide, launching a quarterly e-newsletter, launching a Community Champion program, and more.
The project plans to improve their project website in the coming year, conduct more community engagement, with a special focus on engaging youth.
Community Initiatives Manager John Ariyo is now responsible for the City’s youth engagement, and the planned relaunch of the Youth Advisory Committee.  (The Public Record outlines the dismal history of youth engagement at City Hall in this report)
Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson asked Ariyo what the status of the youth engagement strategy is.
Chris Herstek, Director of Recreation, says his department will present the new youth engagement strategy to Council in September. The City is presently consulting with youth to complete the report.
Councillor Matthew Green heaped praise upon one of the City’s frontline recreation staffers. who runs some of the City’s few youth programs.
“On the youth file, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Jesse Williamson’s ongoing work, informally, in the community on the youth file”.
Williamson runs many of the City’s few youth focused programs including Urban Hoops, F.O.R.E golf, and programming in Wards 2, 3, & 4.
DISCLOSURE: Williamson and I worked together at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton in the early 2000s.
Green continued, “I’d love to see that formalized in some way, and perhaps given some direction and so lead to just go ahead and be all systems go on that. He’s already doing great work”.
Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr added a loud “hear, hear”
Green says the City should consider having a dedicated youth engagement and programming staff member, suggesting Williamson’s be assigned to that role.
The Public Record will be following this file closely, and will provide updates as developments occur.
Full Video of this discussion on The Public Record’s YouTube page.