Majority of Canadian Youth Feel They Can Make a Difference in the World

Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada releases new survey that shows 83% of Canadian youth feel they can make a difference in the world when loved and supported by family and friends

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OTTAWA, CANADA – 23 May 2013 – Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) today released a unique survey where Canadian youth as young as 8 years old answered the question “what makes you feel confident?” For the 83% of Canadian youth who feel they can make a difference in the world and their communities, the survey revealed that the key driver of their confidence is the support and love of family, friends and adult mentors.

The survey, conducted by international research consultancy GlobeScan and shaped by young people themselves, found that adults – be they parents, family, teachers, mentors or role models – play a key role in helping youth feel confident and good about themselves through encouragement, support, guidance and love.

This survey was one of the most comprehensive of its kind ever conducted in Canada and one of the first to listen to kids aged 8-12. More than 3,000 Canadian youth, aged 8 to 24, completed a 10 minute survey. When youth respondents were asked to pick from a list of items the top 3 factors that boost their self-confidence, the survey revealed that:

  • Across all age groups, 42% of Canadian youth say that feeling loved builds their confidence.
  • The secondary drivers of confidence shift according to age group:
    • 37% of youth aged 8-12 years old say that being good at something is an important factor in feeling good about themselves.
    • 34% of youth aged 13-17 years old are confident when they are doing well in school.
    • 30% of young adults aged 18-24 years old say that being recognized for something they did well makes them feel more confident.

“This survey is a great way to begin a conversation with youth across Canada about what is important to us,” said Corey Johnson, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, National Youth Council. “Kids of all ages feel strongly about making a difference. I know from my experience as both a younger club member and a youth leader, that providing support and encouragement is important and it definitely helps kids feel confident in this sometimes challenging world.”
“This survey enables youth of all ages to have an opportunity to voice their concerns about the issues that face them, whether they are school aged kids, teenagers or young adults,” said Pam Jolliffe, President & CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. “The simple but profound message from this survey is that loving, caring relationships are at the heart of healthy child and youth development and this reality continues through young adulthood. The responses give us a clear understanding of what matters most to our youth and what, we as adults, can do to help youth be more confident and successful.”
“This survey is distinctive in several different ways. GlobeScan surveyed a statistically large number of Canadian youth. We were able to engage kids aged 8-12, an often overlooked and difficult to reach segment. Most importantly, young people themselves were involved at all stages of the project; with their help we were able to discover important insights into how youth in Canada feel about the world around them and what supports they need to feel confident,” said Michele Cunningham, who led the survey at GlobeScan.
In addition to the release of the survey results, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is engaged in action research about best practices in youth engagement and launched the “World According to Us,” a platform where Canadian youth can voice their thoughts, opinions, and creative solutions on issues that affect their lives. To learn more about the “World According to Us”, visit: Youth Ambassadors from across Canada were present to discuss the survey results and provide their views on issues that affect today’s youth during the press conference held at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, QC. The event’s Twitter hashtag is #BGCTWAU.
Download the Press Release (ENG version, PDF)
Download the Press Release (FR version, PDF)
Download the Infographic (ENG version, PDF)
Download the Infographic (FR version, PDF)

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About Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is dedicated to supporting and encouraging children and youth as they grow and develop. We are a national charity serving 200,000 young people in more than 650 locations across Canada. We listen to their opinions and ideas, applaud their accomplishments, lend support during their struggles and provide ways to explore their interests and talents. With this encouragement they develop the confidence and sense of belonging that helps them succeed in school, form positive relationships and mature into responsible, caring adults. For over 110 years we have welcomed children, youth and their families into clubs that reflect the diversity of Canada in small and large cities, rural communities and First Nations Reserves.
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