The Chatham-Kent to the Power of Young People (aged 15-39) - CKY Advisory Group gathers and shares the voice of young people in CK.
The CKY 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 Group facilitates discussions amongst young people and provides feedback to Municipal administration, Council, and community organizations on matters that impact the attraction, retention, and engagement of young people locally. Read the
CKY Advisory Group Terms of Reference for more information on how the Group works, and check out the CKY Advisory Group 2018-2022 Review infographic to see what they have been up to since they got started.
Follow the activities of the CKY Advisory Group here and over social media on
Twitter. See the latest CKY Meeting Minutes from April 2023 to learn what the Advisory Group is focusing on. To speak with a member of the CKY Advisory Group, and share your thoughts and opinions, email
CKY Advisory Group Members
Jason Brown, Co-Chair - Chatham
I was born and raised in Chatham before moving away to post-secondary in the Niagara Region in 2012 and moving to Ottawa in 2016. In 2021, I moved back to Chatham-Kent permanently to be closer to family and friends and build a life in the community that gave me so much growing up. I am pursuing my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology to become a counsellor and work as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator at Chatham-Kent Victim Services. Having lived in a few places, the thing that stands out for Chatham-Kent is our incredible sense of community. I look forward to working with other young people to improve our community.
Megan Siddall, Co-Chair - Dresden
I was born and raised in Bothwell, and after completing my undergraduate degree in Political Science and Sociology at Western University I returned to CK and now reside in the Dresden area. Currently, I am a Program Manager with Junior Achievement (JA) South Western Ontario, a local not-for-profit that provides programming and events to students across the region in topics of financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. I am working towards completing my not-for-profit management certificate with Western University and am a Director for the United Way of Chatham-Kent's board. The community of Chatham-Kent holds a strong place in my heart and I hope to help advocate for the youth across our Municipality while also showcasing all that CK has to offer.
Morena McDonald - Ridgetown
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.
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 Let's Take AACtion. 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. I hope to help youth feel that their ideas and opinions are heard and validated for the future of our community.
Zara Belanger-Pepper - Chatham
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 Southwestern 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.
Laura Wheeler - Ridgetown
I was born and raised in Chatham-Kent. After moving away to receive my post-secondary education, my partner and I started our lives together in the Niagara Region. A few years in, we knew that we dreamt of living somewhere that felt more like home. We made some career changes, allowing us to move back to CK and settle in Ridgetown - a place that is known for its town camaraderie. I joined CKY as a way to connect with those across the municipality. Over the years, this group has helped showcase the unique pieces that each corner of our region has to offer. I am excited to continue to work to highlight the voices of young people across Chatham-Kent.
Colm McGivern - Wallaceburg
I currently reside in Wallaceburg and think it is a great place to live. I attend Ursuline College Chatham as a full-time grade 12 student, and I also work at a local business here in Wallaceburg and volunteer in the local community when I can. I have joined CKY to bring my experience as a youth living in Chatham-Kent. I am excited to learn more about our broader community and the opinions of youth that reside within it. I hope to work towards improving the community as a whole and to give something back to a community that has been a large part of my life.
I was born and raised in Chatham then moved away for 7 years to pursue an education in Kinesiology. In November of 2019, I made my way back to CK which I am proud to call home once again. What I appreciate the most about Chatham is how our population size allows for it to feel like a close community. I like being able to go to a store, a restaurant, or a festival with a high chance of connecting with someone I know. I have a passion for making improvements in sport & recreation within the communities of Chatham-Kent. My dream would be to see Chatham open the ultimate recreation complex that allows for different types of sports, exercise, and physical activity for all ages.
Hi, I am Saysha. I'm a sales associate for Len's Mill store in Chatham where I act as Health & Safety lead as well as part of their creative team. I am educated in the arts as well as cultural diversity and comparative religions. I've lived in Chatham my entire life and one of my personal goals is to see continued growth in what this community has to offer for young artists.
My wife and I settled in Blenheim in 2015 and are now joined by two busy boys. I am originally from a small northern town near Kingston, Ontario, and the rural setting of Blenheim was appealing to me and my wife; who is originally from Chatham. In our spare time, you'll find our family usually enjoying the outdoors somewhere.