The CK to the Power of Young People Advisory Group posing around the CK^y banner with Mayor Canniff, against a brick wall.

The CK^y Advisory Group was created in 2018 as a response to feedback from the Chatham-Kent to the Power of Young People, 2017 Survey which revealed that only 22% of young people feel their contributions to Chatham-Kent are valued. The CK^y Advisory Group facilitates discussions amongst young people and provides feedback to Municipal Council and community organizations on matters that impact the attraction, retention, and engagement of young people locally.

Follow the activities of the CK^y Advisory Group here and over social media on FacebookInstagram, and TwitterTo speak with a member of the CK^y Advisory Group, and share your thoughts and opinions, email!

CK^y Advisory Group Members

Stephen Marklevitz


Man in a plad shirt with the CK^y logo and LivingCK logo in bottom right corner

I was born and raised in Stratford, ON. Moved to Halifax, NS in 2002 to attended Dalhousie University before returning to London, ON in 2007 for graduate school at the University of Western Ontario. I moved to Chatham-Kent in 2014 to work for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as a Fisheries Biologist in Wheatley, ON. Since moving to Chatham-Kent in 2014, my wife and I have discovered a lot of CK's hidden gems and have seen CK's potential. My motivation for joining CK^y is to help promote this potential and make CK a great place to raise our children. 

Colin Chrysler


Man in a white shirt with the CK^y logo and LivingCK logo in bottom right corner

Zara Belanger-Pepper


A young woman in a black shirt smiling at the camera. with the CKY and LivingCK logos overlayed in the bottom right corner.

I was born and raised in Chatham, and I can’t think of a better community than this one. I currently go to École Secondaire de Pain Court, a full-french high school. I’m working towards becoming a doctor. After writing a book about the loss of my father to suicide, I’ve become an advocate for mental health for people all over South-Western Ontario, especially the youth of Chatham-Kent. I’ve done many talks at multiple events such as the Canadian Mental Health Go Green Golf Tournament and Ride Don’t Hide Event as well as many other locations such as St-Clair College, Rotary and IODE Ridgetown. As one of the younger members of this initiative, I’m undeniably very excited to bring a youthful energy to CK, and I’m looking forward to making this amazing community even better to live in for everyone, especially for youth. I want the voices and opinions of every young person in Chatham-Kent to be heard and taken into consideration when decisions are being made, because the youth are the future of our communities.

Kaitlyn Smoke

Pain Court

I was born and raised in Pain Court, and returned after completing my Bachelor's degree in Linguistics and Language studies at Glendon College, York University in Toronto. I have always had a passion for being involved in my community, through various clubs, initiatives and experiences. Having a sister with multiple complex needs, I have always been a strong advocate for those with special needs, by volunteering with organizations such as the Children's Treatment Centre of C-K and spearheading fundraising initiatives such as CK Voiceless But Still Talking (With AAC). Chatham-Kent is an incredibly supportive and tight-knit community, and I look forward to helping CK continue to be better as part of CKy. Everyone deserves a voice, and every voice deserves to be heard; and I hope to help youth feel that their ideas and opinions are heard and validated for the future of our community.

Laura Wheeler, Communications Officer


Morena McDonald, Co-Chair


Woman in black shirt and scarf, with the CK^y and LivingCK logos overlayed in bottom corner

I grew up in Ridgetown and moved back to the community in 2011 after living in Toronto and attending U of T. It was difficult to find a job when I moved back, so I started an Etsy Shop selling handmade wedding décor. From there, I got into event planning and turned it into a business. Presently, I am known for organizing events such as Etsy: Made in Canada and the Dresden Night Market. I also work part-time at 99.1FM as a reporter and afternoon news anchor. I joined the CK^y Advisory Group to help other young people discover the unique opportunities that exist in Chatham-Kent. I also hope to encourage people of all ages to move to the area to take advantage of our affordable cost of living and growing community.

Eric VanDamme


Man in suit with the CK to the Power of Young People and LivingCK logos overlayed. Brick wall in background

I was born and raised in Wallaceburg and easily decided to make this community my home. I am a firm believer that Chatham-Kent is an excellent place to to Live, Learn, Work, and Play. My objective with CK^y is to continue promoting Chatham-Kent by contributing to the discussion on how to make sure the amazing opportunities that exist here are known by those who live here or are looking for a place to establish themselves. While living in Chatham-Kent, I completed both my Computer Programmer diploma from Lambton College, and Bachelor in Management and Organizational Studies at the University of Western Ontario. I have had the opportunity to work in the Information Technology field for various organizations and am currently employed as Chief Information Officer at Eternity's Touch. I also contribute to various boards and committees as a way of giving back to the community that has provided me with much to be proud of.