© Andrew Wagstaff - The Citizen-Record
Members of the Oxford youth advisory group include (from left) Daniel Black, Alie Bishop, Hailie Harrison, Jay Woodworth, Brandon Casey and Ali Ceccehetto.
OXFORD - Complaining about having nothing to do is not the way one group of young people here operates.
The Oxford Youth Advisory Group, a co-operative effort with the Cumberland RCMP, meets regularly to discuss issue in the community concerning young people. This group, in particular, is focusing on providing more recreational opportunities for themselves and their peers.
Meeting regularly since last October, the group has held events such as movie nights and dances.
"It's about getting in touch with the youth in the community, and getting them out doing something," said Brandon Casey. "Vandalism is a huge issue in our town."
Sites such as the abandoned former schools and the blueberry statue have been targeted by vandals in the past, and it has been identified as a youth problem, according to Brandon. The youth advisory group has tied the incidents to not having enough activities to keep young people busy, and they are aiming to do something about it.
"We want more on the weekends, because a lot of kids go out and drink," said Jay Woodworth. "We're giving them another option."
"We want them to be able to do something here instead of having to drive to Amherst," said Hailie Harrison.
One recent Saturday night saw the group host a youth movie night, which began with a movie for a younger audience, and was followed by one more suitable for older youth. Response has been positive so far.
"It was a good turnout for the Saturday night one, but we also had a firemen's carnival going on at the same time," said Brandon. "I think we would have had a lot more people if we had it on a Friday night."
The youth group also held a dance last weekend, and is planning another movie night. At each event they will raise funds and donate them to such things as school committees, and they also collect donations for the local food bank.
"We also like to help out with other things, like the drug awareness event the RCMP had at our school," said Hailie.
The group has shown interest in continuing to meet during the summer months, and has enough younger members to keep it going for years to come.
The Oxford group is one of three youth advisory groups meeting in Cumberland County, with others meeting in Parrsboro, Pugwash and River Hebert.
"All the groups are giving 110 per cent," said Const. Dal Hutchinson, who serves as an advisor for the groups. "They have identified issues in their communities, saw voids and areas where they needed to create more activities, an they've taken it and run with it."