By Patrick Spencer, The Owen Sound Sun Times
How do I make a budget? What should I cook for one? How do I book a doctor’s appointment?
A network of health professionals say these are questions youth often ask themselves the first time they leave home – but the answers aren’t always obvious, and they might be embarrassed to ask for them.
Now, the Owen Sound Family Health Team has created a seminar that aims to provide them.
“Adulting 101” is a free, one-day learning symposium designed to help young people navigate life away from home.
“It’s for people moving off on their own who might end up struggling,” said Rona Cobean, program and services manager at the Family Health Team. “We’re going to try and prevent those panicked conversations with parents. It’s a non-judgmental way young people can learn.”
Cobean said the idea for it came about when another health group in Owen Sound floated the idea of a cooking class for university-bound youth.
“That morphed into something that focused on more life skills,” she said.
Participants will learn from trained professionals about budgeting and finances, nutrition, health and wellness, and how to navigate the health care system. Two registered dietitians, an occupational therapist, a registered nurse and a financial advisor will be presenting advice and “life hacks” on these topics.
“Parents do teach, but kids don’t always listen to their parents as much as they listen to a professional,” said Carol Holland, a registered dietitian at the health team who will teach at the seminar. “It’s not a comment on families that don’t know this stuff, though.”
She added some parents may not have gone to university or college, and therefore can’t share what the experience was like with their children.
Professionals can also help avoid the pitfalls of misinformation.
“We are able to present solid evidence-based healthy eating strategies, where other folks might not be able to. With so much information on the internet, it’s hard to tell what’s good advice and what isn’t.”
Part of Holland’s presentation will be a hands-on demonstration of how to cook for one in a dorm room. The participants will eat what they make for lunch. The simple, budget-friendly meals will sustain energy and focus, she said.
Stress-management is another aspect of the seminar.
Tatum Bell, an occupational therapist at the health team, said in an interview that it’s important people get these skills early in life to avoid problems down the road. Bell will be teaching time and sleep-management strategies, on top of other stress-reducing techniques.
A member of the Grey Bruce Health Unit will also be present to teach methods of harm reduction.
Cobean said they hope to take in about 20 people for the first seminar, but if it’s a success, they plan to hold another later in the year for students who are starting in the winter semester.
The seminar comes at a time when life skills have been on the mind of the provincial government as well. It has been widely reported that the Grade 10 curriculum will include a greater focus on financial literacy, including tasks such as budgeting for the first year of university.
“Adulting 101” is scheduled for August 1, 2019 and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Owen Sound Family Health Team building at 1415 1st Ave. W.
You can sign up by calling 519-470-3030 ext. 103.