Youth empowerment conference and reconciliation round dance to be held in Prince Albert

Plaza 88/Facebook. The Plaza 88 Event Centre will host the first Our Legacy Youth Gathering on Wednesday.

Legacy gathering a way to put youth at the centre of reconciliation say organizers

Some community organizations in Prince Albert are joining forces to promote leadership, reconciliation and empowerment in local youth with the “Our Legacy Youth Gathering”, the first of many events to be hosted by the new Youth Working Group.

Around 250 youth ages 11 to 21 from the City of Prince Albert and surrounding communities are invited to Plaza 88 on March 29 and 30 to engage in workshops and listen to keynote speakers touch on topics like mental health, gang prevention, justice, addictions, and education. Both days will include supper followed by comedian hypnotist Jesse Lewis on Wednesday and a Radioactive Dance Party on Thursday as evening entertainment. Youth in attendance have the opportunity to be nominated for awards, which will be honoured during the “Spirit of Reconciliation Round Dance” at the Carlton Comprehensive High School Gym on March 31 to conclude the three-day long gathering.

“The youth are our future and the conversations around reconciliation are so important to have with them,” said Nicole Matheis with Community Building Youth Futures. “Reconciliation is part of something that is bigger and ultimately, we just want to create a sense of community.”

United by their shared goals of addressing barriers faced by youth, leading youth initiatives, building partnerships, networking, cost sharing, on multiplying youth initiatives and programming, and working towards starting a hub for all youth organizations in one location; Community Building Youth Futures is just one of several organizations and resources throughout the city that are collaborating to form the Youth Working Group.

Along with Community Building Youth Futures, the Prince Albert Grand Council, Prince Albert Indian & Metis Friendship Centre, the Bernice Sayese Centre, Saskatchewan Rivers School Division and the West Flat Citizen Group are working together to make the Legacy Gathering a possibility.

PAGC’s Shane Bird said the decision to band together was made entirely for the betterment of the youth.

“We want to show unity within our organizations and unity for the youth, to show that we don’t discriminate age, gender, spirituality or culture or spiritual beliefs, that we’re all coming together in a good way,” said Bird. “Our young people [are] our future and we want to leave a legacy behind for them so that they can continue to grow [and] continue to break the cycles.”

One guest the youth can look forward to hearing from is Deputy Chief of the Prince Albert Police Service Farica Prince, a speaker who came to mind due to her strong community focus and work creating good relationships within her leadership role, according to Matheis.

Ten breakout sessions will be held over the two days to provide the youth with fun interactive learning opportunities while encouraging them to interact and build friendships.

“I think it’s very important to not only celebrate reconciliation, but to promote it with our youth, to kind of lead by example so that we can have a brighter future for our kids,” added Bird.

Matheis said the Legacy Gathering is the first of many events to be hosted by the Youth Working Group, who will soon be putting a call out for local youth to join them in helping put on more events in the future.

“We want the youth voice at the centre of what we’re doing,” she said.