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AskingCanadians Case Study: GreenPrint – Quest for the Best Markham Challenge

by Susan O'Neill.

Engaging Markham’s youth in public policy

The Situation

The Municipality of Markham saw its youth as the key to a vibrant and prosperous future for their community. However, Markham youth often moved on as adults to live and work in other areas in the GTA, effectively severing their connection with the municipality.

How could the municipality get the youth thinking about Markham as their community and that Markham was part of their future when this group was known for its lack of interest in government?

The Solution

Delvinia developed a full awareness and engagement plan to support the promotion of Markham’s Green Print Sustainability Plan and the companion website.

The “big idea” was simple: engage Markham youth 11 to 18 by asking them directly what they would do to make Markham a greener community. We called it the “Quest for the Best Markham.” This contest microsite called for ideas on ways to improve Markham, and shared information with the Green Print program.

The engagement strategy was shaped in three stages.

  • Pre-launch: a grassroots outreach to youth networks through schools.
  • Contest microsite: promotion included YouTube video and a Facebook push. The microsite encouraged repeat visits through a photo contest with weekly prizes.
  • Winner announcement: winners were announced at a public event.

The Results

The contest entry period ran for less than two months. The goal was to achieve a 5% participation rate of Markham’s youth within the target age group with approximately 750 entries. Here’s what happened:

  • 3,000 entries were gathered
  • 24 Markham schools participated
  • Many insights acquired to benchmark subsequent programs