Aborignal youth gather for Penticton conference

Gathering of Voices 2013 will bring some 1,500 aborignal youth to Penticton to participate in a four-day conference.

Cara Barter (left) registers Eleanor Megobet as Tlila Jackson (right) waits patiently during the first day of the Gathering of Voices 2013 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort Tuesday. About 1

Cara Barter (left) registers Eleanor Megobet as Tlila Jackson (right) waits patiently during the first day of the Gathering of Voices 2013 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort Tuesday. About 1

Gathering Our Voices 2013 will bring some 1,500 aboriginal youth to Penticton to participate in four days of workshops, learning and making connections next week.

The youth conference is a provincial gathering that has been going on for ten years.This is our 11th year, and we made it a national conference this year,” said co-ordinator Della Preston. “We have over 1,200 aboriginal youth registered. We have capacity for 2,000, but we are anticipating up to 1,500 to 1,600.”

The annual conference is sponsored by the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and co-hosted this year by the Ooknakane Friendship Centre, taking place in the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre until March 22, in the traditional territory of the Okanagan people.

“I can’t say enough good things about the youth programs that go on through the friendship centres as a whole,” said Peggy Joe, executive director at the Ooknakane Friendship Centre. “Through this conference they provide opportunities for young people to gain skills in leadership.”

The conference is for aboriginal youth 14 to 24 targeting both urban aboriginal youth and youth in First Nations communities.

It’s also about forging connections, according to Joe, who said that delegations and youth will be attending from all the local First Nations communities.

“They meet kids from all over the province. It’s a sense of connection, especially for the urban kids who may not have grown up on the reserves, they feel a real sense of belonging,” said Joe. “It provides that opportunity for connecting.”

“Bringing people together in the same space, sharing space, sharing food, sharing the space and time to learn together, to grow from one another,” said Preston, describing the conference.

The conference will have multiple streams of training, activities, and information for aboriginal youth. Youth will engage in educational and training workshops, a career and education fair, cultural and recreational activities, evening events, and motivational speakers.

Those speakers include J.R. LaRose and Angus Reid from the B.C. Lions and Dr. Evan Adams from the province.

“The theme of the conference is health this year. We wanted to look at all the different areas of health,” said Preston. There are 12 different sessions youth can chose from, learning more about stress management, life changes, fitness and nutrition and other aspects of health like the relationship between art and health.

“We have gyms and fitness centres all open for youth,” said Preston. “It is not just talking about their health, they are actually doing it through the workshops, they will be getting right into a basketball workshop.”

It’s not all workshops all the time. There are some fun events involved with the conference as well,  like the talent show that takes place on Wednesday night.

“They are pumped, they are excited. For some of them it is their first time to get up on a professionally run stage,” said Preston. “It is a pretty magical moment when a young person gets up in front of their peers and their peers stand up and applaud them and support them.”

Some of the attendees, according to Preston, have been coming for years and are moving into leadership roles at the conference. That, she continued, has led to a focus on mentoring.

“What is mentorship? How do we foster mentorship?” said Preston. Some youth, after taking on chaperone roles at the conference are moving on to become facilitators.

“They have this desire to share their knowledge, their skills they have taken from the conference and facilitate workshops,” said Preston. “We are trying to track that now. After ten years of a lengthy process, you can start to think about those longer term impacts for these young people.”



Just Posted

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos’ Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

No dental coverage for low income Canadians. (File photo)
OPINION: Penticton MP’s proposal for universal dental coverage rejected

One in 3 Canadians have no dental coverage, with COVID making it even worse

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Sandra Krauer, Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki and Barb Hoolaeff were in Skaha Park to announce the return of Ribfest for September, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Ribfest returns to Penticton

Festival runs from Sept. 17 - 19 at Skaha Lake Park with proceeds going to new splash park

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
UPDATE: Lake Country home destroyed in massive blaze

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read