What is Youth Engagement?

Youth Engagement makes all the difference, so it’s important for both youth and adult allies to understand what it is, what it’s not, and why!


Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

Meet the YouthNet YAC. They are kind of like our youth-led board of directors! Learn what they do and how they make a difference.

Youth Opportunities

  • Join our Monthly Coping Challenge for a chance to win a $50 gift card prize!
  • Contribute to for-youth-by-youth education by submitting a question to #AskYAC

What is Youth Engagement?

Youth Engagement 101

YouthNet is driven by its youth, whether it be through our participants, our volunteers our facilitators. We engage in conversations that matter to young people today, and ensure that we are doing the best we can and remaining youth-friendly by doing everything we do in partnership with youth!

We are founded on the concept of youth supporting each other as the main source of energy that drives our organization forward. We call this energy “Youth Engagement.

Types of Youth Engagement

There are many different types of youth engagement and you’ve probably heard various terms related to the topic, such as: Youth or Student Voice, Youth Advocacy, Youth Action or Activism, Youth Leadership, Youth Representation, Co-creation with Youth, Youth as Co-evaluators or Co-researchers, and more…

Nothing About us Without us!

A few things that youth engagement IS:

  • Meaningful and Intentional
  • Essential
  • Improving health outcomes
  • Community-building
  • Empowering
  • Diverse

A few things that youth engagement is NOT:

  • Token (a.k.a. “just for show”)
  • Shallow
  • Quick + Easy
  • Guaranteed

Click image to learn more from the Quality Standards for Youth Engagement (March 2021) by the Knowledge Institute on Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions.


Takeaway: Genuine youth engagement requires the development of meaningful and sustainable youth-adult partnerships where power is shared to reach collective goals.

Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

Meet the YouthNet YAC!

YAC is a group of youth from the community who meet on a weekly basis on site at YouthNet (virtually and in-person).

YAC is involved in programming decisions and promotion, partnerships with community organization on various mental health projects, as well as planning and running mental health related initiatives and events across the city. All youth who attend YAC earn volunteer hours. If you are passionate about mental health advocacy, this is the group for you!

YAC IS CURRENTLY RECRUITING! Contact us at ynra@cheo.on.ca to if you’re interested in applying. You can also attend our YAC Open House Event on Wednesday, Feb. 8th, from 6-8pm.

Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) Recruitment Poster

Youth Opportunities

Did you know that youth engagement also improves health outcomes? It’s true! Engaging in things like volunteering are both good to help others, but also to help maintain your own mental well-being.

Here are a few awesome ways that you can get engaged:

Sign Up for our Monthly Coping Challenge

Join YouthNet’s YAC as we release a new mental health coping challenge each month for us to conquer together!


There will be a prize draw for all those who enter the challenge, no matter how much progress you make!

Plus, you’ll get to try out some awesome new coping skills and meet some new friends, all while flexing your self-care muscles!

When you register for the monthly challenge, you will also be welcome to attend the Coping Challenge Drop in (Thurs. April 7, @ 6pm on Zoom) to celebrate our efforts, find out about the prize draw and kick off the NEXT challenge!



#AskYAC: A For-Youth-By-Youth Educational Video Series

Have a question about mental health or illness? Stress? Coping? Sleep? Friendship?  Resources?

You’re not alone!

YouthNet’s YAC has launched a new youth-led educational video series called #AskYAC where youth (ages 13-20) from across the Ottawa area can submit their mental health questions and we’ll do our best to answer them with research, expert knowledge, and real youth experience!

Learn more about YAC and our new series in the video above and feel free to submit your questions in the above form.

Check back here often for more opportunities for youth to connect, engage and contribute!

If you are interested in joining our Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), your first step is to check out our youth programs and sign up to the programs waitlist as completing a program is a requirement of joining YAC. You can also contact us at ynra@cheo.on.ca or 613-286-0019 to learn more about YNRA’s youth engagement initiatives, mental health programs, and how you can get involved!