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Leading the Way Youth Summit starts today!

Leading the Way Youth Summit starts today!

Opening remarks at the 2013 Leading the Way Youth Summit 2013
Opening remarks at the Leading the Way Youth Summit 2013

The sixth instalment of CUTA’s youth summit, also known as the Leading the Way Youth Summit, began today in sunny, yes sunny, Calgary, Alberta.

Welcome to the summit!
Welcome to the summit!

The summit is a meeting of young Canadian minds and transit professionals aimed at sharing ideas about the future of transit. Delegates from across Canada were selected months ago to take part in this weekend of workshops, projects, tours,  and indispesible knowledge and new friendships.

The first day officially kicked off with a dinner featuring some keynote speakers. David Cooper, who I interviewed earlier, was the master of ceremonies for the event.

Doug Morgan of Calgary Transit did a quick overview of the current state of transit in Calgary . He set the tone for the weekend as a fun and innovative way to share ideas. Doug also spoke about ran through Calgary’s strategic plan for transit called Route Ahead.

Next up was Don Mulligan, Transportation Planner for the City of Calgary. He spoke about his work on a document called Plan It Calgary, which looks at what Calgary could look like 60 years from now (two generations).

Councillor Brian Pincott of the City of Calgary followed Don and spoke about their vision of planning their city, ImagineCalgary. The overarching theme of his talk was about building a city for people.

Metro Vancouver delegates at the Vancouver airport
Some Metro Vancouver delegates at the Vancouver airport

Kevin Joll of Red Deer Transit and Chair of the P & T CUTA Chapter spoke about Transit 2040, a vision for public urban transit for the next generation. He also spoke about the short history of CUTA youth summits wthat started in Vancouver in 2008.

Peggy Hunt, TransLink’s Manager of Government Relations and Chair of the BC CUTA Committee, was the last to speak. She spoke about both BC Transit and TransLink with an emphasis on governance. Her speech provided the valuable nuts and bolts of just how transit in BC is governed for an audience who just may be the future of transit professionals in Canada.

Peggy Hunt, TransLink's Manager of Government Relations and Chair of the BC CUTA Committee
Peggy Hunt, TransLink’s Manager of Government Relations and Chair of the BC CUTA Committee

The evening finished off with delegates breaking off into groups to start work on their collaborative projects for the weekend. Called the CUTA 2013 project, delegates are given the opportunity to pitch project ideas to an expert panel. The winning pitch will be given funds toward making their project happen.

Talking to delegates with backgrounds like planing, landscape architecture, cartography and law, the one common sentiment for the summit is an excitement about new ideas and new connections to be made this weekend.

Over the next two days, delegates will be working hard and learning a lot. Yours truly will be there to document some of the weekend and even give a speech about how social media is playing a larger role in connecting transit authorities with audiences of transit riders online. Here’s to a great weekend!