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March 15, 2014

Ottawa Youth Summit
Ottawa Youth SummitApproximately 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 inviting others!”

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