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Youth Community Leaders

The Empowered Next Generation

Women Holding Hands

What Do We Do?

The Arran-Elderslie Youth Council is a volunteer opportunity provided by the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie, and Trinity Theatre. It consists of youth advocating on behalf of all youth in the Arran-Elderslie community. 

The Arran-Elderslie Municipal Council may ask the Youth Council to advise on issues pertaining to youth. Additionally, service groups/clubs may ask for Youth Council’s input on projects. There is also the opportunity for the Youth Council to take on larger advocacy issues within the region. 

The Youth Council works on community projects that they are passionate about. The Youth Council also works to promote volunteer opportunities for youth that are available in the area through local community groups.  

Additionally, the Youth Council works to communicate with the larger community through monthly updates published through the local newspaper and newsletter, posts on the @ArranElderlsieYouth Facebook and Instagram page, and a yearly report to the Arran-Elderslie Municipal Council. 

Members of the Youth Council experience a number of benefits including exposure to local careers and municipal government, youth job opportunities, learning and skill-building opportunities, and more, all while gaining volunteer hours. 


Youth Council Member


Youth Council Member


Youth Council Member


Youth Council Member

Projects/ Initiatives

Showcase of Work

Asset Mapping Round 1

August, 2020

The Youth Council guided a small group around Paisley a few times throughout a weekend in August, which was the first time any members of the council met and worked together

Youth Forum

October, 2020

This forum in October was our first actual event, and gathered a lot of traction for the Youth Council from community stakeholders-- including Mayor Steve Hammell and MP Alex Ruff!

Library Promotion

October, 2020 - Current

We reached out to the library in around October, and have since built a connection dedicated to promoting their valuable assets and collaborating where we can on initiatives

Youth Hangouts

October, 2020 - January, 2021

This is your Project description. Whether your work is based on text, images, videos or a different medium, providing a brief summary will help visitors understand the context and background. Then use the media section to showcase your project!

Traffic calming

November, 2020 - Current

We have been working on and off alongside the Grey-Bruce Traffic Calming Task Force to reduce unsafe speeding in Arran-Elderslie, a problem identified by many youth on the council.

AE Festival of Lights

December 2020

In December, we held a community-wide festival where participating households decorated their houses for the holidays, submitted photos, and were entered into a draw for locally-donated prizes.

Milne-Crawford Reboot

Febuary 2021

This event was dedicated to highlighting the works of artist David Milne and poet Isabella Valancy Crawford and displaying youth artwork through a virtual event and showcase-- the event gained massively positive feedback from the community.


March - Current

The newly launched website is chock-full of resources for youth in Arran-Elderslie, from events, to updates from us, to mental health resources and coping mechanisms.

Community Engagement


We’ve been working to connect with the community through our social media, the newsletter, and our articles in the Paisley Advocate.


May 2021 - Current

We are looking to the senior voices in our community to form intergenerational connections and listen to the stories and upbringing of participants through engaging interviews and storytelling, culminating in a podcast entitled “AE Archives”.

Open meeting

May 2021

As a part of our retention and recruitment plan, the youth council held an open meeting in May to allow curious community members and potential new recruits an inside look at the council’s workings.

Youth Itineraries

May, 2021 - Current

these will be lists of opportunities, activities and various ways for youth to involve themselves in the communities, which will improve community engagement and enrich the diversity of youth voices in Arran-Elderslie.

Interested in what you're seeing?

Interested in getting involved with AE Youth Council and discovering more about our work? Contact us today to see how you can support our youth-led initiative.

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I was thoroughly impressed with the meeting. The students were well organized and clear in their goals and it was fantastic to see what they had accomplished in such a short period of time especially in our current pandemic state. Hat’s off to you and everyone involved for making this happen.

Pierre Valley
Economic Development Officer
of the County of Bruce

Mentoring Team

Who We Are


Sandra Crokard (she/her)

Co-Executive Director of Trinity Theatre

One of the founding members of Trinity in 1982, Sandra has since been committed to working alongside Alan in their exploration of ‘theatre outside theatre’ bringing art and theatre practices to youth engagement and community development. From the time they moved to Paisley in 2013, she has been looking for ways to get involved in Arran-Elderslie. Sandra is very excited about this opportunity to bring their many years of experience to help bring about a Youth Council for Arran-Elderslie.


Allan Richardson (he/him)

Co-Executive Director of Trinity Theatre

Alan has been working at Trinity since 1982. He started Trinity with 6 graduating students from York University’s Fine Arts Theatre program. They created an ensemble that stayed together for 9 years. Sandra and Alan carried on developing their theatre work to have more practical application in the community. They have been Co-directors since the 1990’s.
Alan is very excited to be living in Paisley. The beauty of Bruce County daily inspires and comforts Alan. Sandra and Alan had the privilege and fun of working with students at Sacred Heart in Walkerton and St Mary’s in Owen Sound over several years and the vivacity and enthusiasm of the peer leaders only confirmed their positive feelings for the area.


Alex Oestreicher (she/her)

Programs Manager

Alex works for Trinity as their programs manager. Alex appreciates staying connected to her community and applying what she is learning to her professional practices. Alex is constantly inspired and regularly learning from the youth in Arran-Elderslie. She enjoys working to facilitate a space in which youth feel valued, heard and empowered. Alex is passionate about naps, effecting social change, knitting, podcasts, soccer, and of course her dog.

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Leigha Morton (she/her)

Project Manager 

Leigha works to support all of our Youth Council members in Carrying out their Projects and starting new projects. Along with connecting with new Partners to grow the Youth Council and working to recruit new Youth council members.


Claire Geerts (she/her)

Communications Specialist

Claire is hired as a Communications Specialist for Trinity Theatre. She is in Media Studies at Lakehead University and an artist specializing in acrylic paintings and mixed media artwork. She is a feminist, a lover of rom-coms, and a devoted cat mom.


Fianna McKnight (she/they)

Youth Development Coordinator

Fianna was hired in the summer of 2021 to aid in social research and asset mapping for the community, and she now provides support to youth volunteers in the execution of their initiatives. Fianna is in Grade 12 at SDSS, and has plans to go into the Health Sciences for her post-secondary education. Fianna values the relationship she has built with her community and looks forward to continuing her work in creating opportunities for youth to make their voices heard.


Working Together

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Trinity Theatre

Trinity is a charitable organization founded in Toronto in 1982 whose mission is to provide integrated and experiential learning, using the arts and intergenerational interactions to facilitate the development of communities across Canada.  Co-Executive Directors, Alan Richardson and Sandra Crockard are residents of Arran-Elderslie who, until recently, divided their time between Paisley and their work in Toronto schools and communities.

The concept for an Arran-Elderslie Youth Council was borne out of discussions between Alan, Sandra, and the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie Community Development Coordinator, Laura Fullerton. Looking for ways to become involved in their Arran-Elderslie community – and given their background in youth engagement and community development – Sandra and Alan realized the unique challenges that rural communities face in youth volunteerism, community engagement, and retention. Trinity has extensive experience developing youth leadership groups across Canada and facilitating intergenerational relationships in both urban and rural contexts. Alan and Sandra are pleased to have been able to play a role in the establishment of the Arran Elderslie Youth Council and continue to serve as Adult Allies.


Municipality of Arran-Elderslie

In August 2019 Council approved the formation of the Arran-Elderslie Youth Council. One of the Arran-Elderslie Economic Development goals for 2019-2020 was to develop youth engagement opportunities. Youth retention, education, representation and exposure are important pillars for growth in the Municipality. 

Municipalities around the province have experienced a Youth Council to be a youth retention and youth engagement tool. Youth are more likely to return home to a community after post-secondary education or stay in the community after being exposed to what opportunities are available.

The Arran-Elderslie Youth Council provides youth with an opportunity to have their voice heard in the community. Arran-Elderslie Municipal Council may ask the Youth Council to advise on an issue pertaining to youth, service groups or clubs in the community may come to the youth council to provide input on a project, or the Youth Council may take on larger advocacy issues within the region. The Youth Council takes on projects and initiatives that matter to young people in the Municipality to make Arran-Elderslie an even better place to call home. The Arran-Elderslie Youth Council presents at a Municipal Council meeting once yearly to provide an update on events, budget, members and projects. Arran-Elderslie Council supports the Arran-Elderslie Youth Council through operational funding, staff time and space to meet as a group. Arran-Elderslie Council is looking forward to watching to Youth Council grow and continue to take on an active role in the community.

Image by Jason Goodman

Complete This Survey

Help the Arran-Elderslie Youth Council by filling out this form and letting us know what kinds of change you want to see that impact you and your community.
REMEMBER: Our doors are open to all ideas, big or small.

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