Approximately 100 youth aged
15-30 gathered on March 1st at the Richelieu Vanier Community Centre
for a full day of consultation, reflection and planning. The energy was
palpable and appropriately accredited to more than just the sheer
number of participants.
The youth came from diverse backgrounds, but had a united vision – to
learn how to become an agent of material and social
transformation. Many of the youth present had participated in
the Toronto Youth Conference in July
2013, one of 114 world conferences organized by the Universal
House of Justice with the aim of building the capacity of
youth to contribute to the development of their communities.
Grouped geographically, the youth had the opportunity to go through
workshops that explored concepts such as what defines a true friendship
and how service can lead to the advancement of society. The last
session was dedicated to planning specific community building
activities that would be carried out in various neighbourhoods across
Ottawa. Participants came together from a number of
neighbourhoods across the City including Barrhaven, Mannotick,
Downtown, Centretown, Sandy Hill, Gloucester, Greenboro, Heatherington,
Kanata, Stittsville, Fairfield Heights, Nepean, and Orleans.
At the end of the day, the youth shared their plans along with artistic
presentations reflecting what they had learned during the day with the
larger group. Examples of activities that the youth planned include:
initiating and strengthening existing Junior Youth Empowerment groups
and children’s classes; holding Arts nights; and extending an
invitation to other youth to join the efforts.
One participant described the day as “a remarkable reminder of the
capacity we have as youth to help transform our community.” Another
noted that she “looks forward to carrying out the plans made and