About a dozen Grade 6 students in Sydney gathered at a hotel over the weekend for the first meeting of the recently resurrected Youth Speaks Up program, to talk about issues they feel are important before they start junior high school.
Nicole Pronk, a chairperson with the adult volunteer board that set up the Youth Speaks Up program, said the group will continue to meet once a month.
"Junior high is a huge transition. A lot of things can happen in junior high," she said.
"There's lots of changes and they're getting ready for it so this seems to be the critical time to speak with them and hear from them."
Each meeting will include a guest speaker to talk about a subject chosen by the students.
At Sunday's meeting, the students learned about public speaking from communications professor Tanya Brannon Barrett and had to practise their public speaking skills by standing up and saying a few words to the group.
Madison MacInnis, a student who attended the meeting, said in the future she wanted to discuss topics such as fitness and bullying.
Other students said they want to learn about staying healthy.
"I'd like to see people about healthy eating and fitness and things like that," said Henessey Harker.
"I think it was really good to learn new things and to have more experiences with different people and not just with your friends and young and older to see how it will go."
Youth Speaks Up was originally started by Jack Yazer, a Sydney businessman, in 1996. It was shut down a decade later, until Pronk and her group decided to resurrect it this year.
Organizers said Grade 6 teachers encourage students from a variety of backgrounds to attend the program.
Students who came to the first meeting said they liked it so much, they plan to bring friends next time.