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FINALY! Recognizing Youth in Newfoundland and Labrador

By Heather Fudge & Rebecca Dunn |

No, it's not a typo. FINALY! - Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador's Youth is a provincial organization that provides a strong unified voice for the youth of Newfoundland and Labrador. Driven by youth FINALY! facilitates meaningful participation of youth in decision making, implementation and evaluation; promotes the achievements of youth and young entrepreneurs; and distribution of information to youth in all areas of the province.

This July FINALY! will be hosting a series of regional youth development workshops focusing on youth and entrepreneurship.

The workshops will provide a forum for young entrepreneurs to share their successes, challenges and best practices with youth who are interested in launching a career in business. They will also give youth and youth entrepreneurs the opportunity to network with various economic development and youth-serving organizations, businesses, federal and provincial government departments and agencies, as well as industry, education, employment, and other relevant sectors.

FINALY!'s regional establishment was prompted by statistics that demonstrate a significant imbalance between the province's economic growth in gross domestic product (7% increase over the last six years) and the out migration trends that have been occurring in the same time span. The workshops were developed to provide as much information as possible to the youth of the province so that they will be able to build a viable future in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Our progress is evident in the overwhelming amount of support we are receiving and the level of interest that has been generated in the work we are doing. We are confident that our efforts will not only bring awareness to youth in our province, but success as well," explained Heather Fudge, Central Regional Youth Development Officer.

FINALY! Background

FINALY! has established itself as a credible, active, youth-run organization, and its achievements have been profiled at both national and international levels and has been praised for its innovation in youth activities. FINALY! is recognized by government, the private sector, communities, and by youth as the only organization of its kind in the province. It adheres to the principle of "for youth, by youth", priding itself in the successful establishment and maintenance of a Provincial Youth Council whose members are between the ages of 15 and 30.

The creation of a provincial youth network has strengthened FINALY!'s ability to develop and implement several successful projects, including the Labrador Wild-Craft Project and the Business Retention and Expansion Project.

The Labrador Wild-Craft Project fuses cultural and economic development by facilitating a partnership between Aboriginal elders and youth in Labrador. The elders teach the youth in their community the skills needed to create traditional native crafts, which creates an atmosphere of respect and cooperation, and stresses the importance of cultural preservation. FINALY! also provides project participants with business information and suggestions on how to create revenue from the crafts that are produced. This project has been very successful to date, and FINALY! hopes to continue to expand the project to reach all Aboriginal communities in the province.

The Business Retention and Expansion Project was created as a means to support youth entrepreneurs in Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2005, FINALY! conducted interviews with 103 young business owners province-wide, to gain an understanding of the accomplishments, challenges, and best practices of youth in entrepreneurship, as well as the types of industries, products and services that youth entrepreneurs are successfully participating in. This information is an invaluable resource to youth interested in pursuing a career in business, and will assist FINALY! in ongoing and future entrepreneur-oriented projects.

Results from the Business Retention and Expansion Project launched Youth LEAP 2005. The youth entrepreneurs interviewed highlighted that there was a lack of conferences that they could attend, free of charge and network with their peers. In response to this, FINALY! developed Youth LEAP (Leaders, Entrepreneurs, and Partners), which took place from November 4-6 in Gander. This event brought together 200 young leaders and entrepreneurs (aged 15-30) from across Newfoundland and Labrador, and featured a full-scale youth entrepreneurial trade show, and numerous dynamic workshops that focused on creating and expanding opportunities for young people in Newfoundland and Labrador.

By providing many opportunities for youth, and creating an environment that promotes inclusion of youth and a profound understanding and respect of the abilities, passion and commitment youth have to offer, FINALY! continues to gain momentum as a legitimate provincial youth organization and provide a voice for Newfoundland and Labrador's young people.

For more information on FINALY! visit www.finaly.ca.

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