Encouraging youth to become leaders is the focus of a three-day event taking place this week in Tletinqox (Anaham First Nation) and Williams Lake.
“It’s the kick start for our youth program that’s being funded by First Nations health,” Tletinqox Chief Joe Alphonse said. “I believe the best thing we can do as a Nation and as a community is champion our youth. We have so many youth in Williams Lake and within our Nation that are doing well and need to be acknowledged. We want to make sure we keep them on the right path.”
The Youth 4 Leaders Summit kicks off Wednesday, with presentations at Maranatha Christian School, and both campuses of Lake City Secondary School. On Thursday it will be held at Anaham with youth from communities in the region and on Friday it will be open to the public at the Gibraltar Room from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Two motivational speakers — Stan Wesley and Sam Bradd – will be participating in the summit, bringing positive messages to youth.
Wesley was born and raised in Moose Factory, Ontario, a Cree community on the South coast of James Bay.
As a youth he began what would be a life-long career of bringing laughter and meaning to audiences with the creation of “Bunnuck,” a weekly show that aired on TVO and TVNC for several seasons.
Since then, for over 20 years, Stan has engaged and entertained audiences with his unique style of fun and depth in presentations, keynotes, emcee and facilitation services. Stan speaks on a variety of issues with a focus on celebrating success and advancing good, healthy relations among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.
Bradd is a graphic facilitator and specialist in information design.
“I draw big ideas for people that want to engage, solve problems, and lead,” Bradd’s website notes. “Together, we’re drawing change.”
Organizer Lisa Mueller, CEO of All Nations Consulting Coaching, encourages businesses and adults to attend the summit as much as possible.”It is important that adults are present because it gives an example to the youth in the room that adults care and are paying attention to what they are doing,” Mueller said, noting the summit is for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth.
Alphonse said he hired Mueller because she has experience doing workshops with youth and has held a Youth 4 Leaders Summit in Terrace. She is also an original member of his community, he added.
Looking back on his own life growing up on a First Nations community, Alphonse said his grandmother never went to residential school and with her it was always about positive reinforcement.
“That’s the approach I want to take in approaching our kids. We have a number of kids that are going back to school and graduating every year and I tell my community if there is one area where we end up in a deficit, if it’s education I don’t mind.”
For more information on the summit contact Mueller at 250-631-3396 or go to www.Youth4Leaders.ca.
It is free but people need to sign up.