Cranbrook women travel to Ottawa for Youth Centre Canada conference
Darelyn Hutchinson and Sandra Davis were honored to be able to attend a national youth conference; “Ignite and Unite” held in our nation’s capital Ottawa by the Youth Centre Canada. Both participants gained a great deal of insight & inspiration through powerful key note speakers, bragging sessions, meeting, interacting, sharing and learning from others across the country.
“I was amazed to see the inner strength and power in the youth at the conference in only a few short days” said Davis. “This was their conference, they were in charge and had the floor to speak up and initiate change from their own perspective – youth perspective. It was fantastic!”
The group had a role, the task at hand for the year was to look at, discuss and make recommendations on the Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2011 Youth & Young Adults-Life in transition. The topics chosen to work on were: Exploring sexuality; addressing youth suicide; addressing bullying; addressing substance abuse; Exploring Self-Esteem; Youth Retention, Engagement and Attraction Through Youth Centers. For 2 long days we worked tirelessly on the report, “I felt so proud of these youth for expressing themselves openly, caring deeply for one another and honoring each other for who they are.” Says Davis
“One of the highlights of the conference was when we loaded onto 3 large school buses to ascend on Parliament Hill,” recalls Hutchinson, “It was a beautiful day and one I will always remember.” There were representatives from every province and the Northwest Territory. We met people from prairies, lakes, oceans, cities, villages and islands. Our backgrounds varied, but our core was the same, we all shared in passion of youth owning their voice and sharing experiences.
Youth Centres Canada, formerly known as TYPS, is a recognized national leader in Youth Centre, Youth Council and Youth Initiative development. Their goal is to support community based Youth Centres and Youth Initiatives serving communities of all sizes and cultural diversity. They work to have Youth Centres publicly recognized as being an integral part of Canadian society. Youth Centres Canada works to support and build capacity and provide resources, programs and opportunities for youth.
As Lisa Davis, Adult Board Chair put it in her address “I am impressed by the maturity & competence of our youth board members which bodes well for the future. This is not to say these youth are the future, just as the youth attending this conference are not. These youth are RIGHT NOW!! You are leaders and doers; Right Now you are making a change in your communities and in Canada and I am inspired by all of you.”
“We would like to thank all of those who helped make this a reality. To represent Cranbrook at a National level was incredible” says Hutchinson. “I saw an amazing passion in these youth due to the adversity they have had to overcome. A passion that tells them they can do anything because they can. I know many Cranbrook youth have this passion too, and I am excited to see what happens with our youth in the future because of the knowledge and resources I have gained from this trip.” Hutchinson is still in touch with some of the people she met and she wants to make a difference in her community.
Although Youth Centres Canada picked up a huge chunk of the bill to bring us out, funding fell short because of our rural location and distance to travel. Our community pitched in on very short notice. “We were able to raise just enough funds with a small portion left over to start us off again next year”, says Hutchinson, “I want to take some kids from Cranbrook to this again next year” Our community can and does rally together to support causes. Both Davis & Hutchinson want to send a special thank you to their major contributors: Ktunaxa Nation Council, Regional District of East Kootenay, ANKORS, BCGEU Cross Component Committee & Local 308, Kin Club of Cranbrook, and Aqanttanam Housing Society. They also wish to recognize those city councilors who dug into their personal pockets to pitch in to this initiative. Every small and large donation contributed to our travels of bringing Cranbrook, the only BC representatives to the table. We will not soon be forgotten by those we met, everyone was excited to meet the women from the Rocky Mountains. Their welcoming attitude & enthusiasm was very impressive. We arrived as strangers and departed as friends.