Canada 150&Me Forum Participant, YAC President 2017-2018
Two years ago, I was a high school student in grade 10 who had never travelled much farther than the community centre from my hometown of Lindsay, Ontario. Regardless of my lack of geographical expertise, I was passionate about social issues and youth engagement, but just wasn’t sure how to utilise my interests within my community as well as on provincial and national scales. What started off as a rushed application to an organization promoting Canada’s 150th anniversary quickly turned into something much more meaningful, as I was given unimaginable opportunities to travel across the country and participate in forums that allowed me to forge strong connections with youth from a vast array of backgrounds. As humbling and memorable as my encounters have been with Experiences Canada, my story is only one of the many that exist among youth in our nation who have been given opportunities that never would have existed without this organization.
Experiences Canada serves to engage and inspire youth across the country through programs and policies that uplift youth voice and give students life-changing opportunities to form a sense of national identity, and connect students with each other. Serving as President of the Experiences Canada Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Having the opportunity to work with youth from across the country who are engaged and excited about supporting each other and the future of Experiences Canada has been nothing short of life-changing, and I will always jump at the chance to give back to an organization that has been so kind to myself and countless other students.
Although this year was my first serving on the Youth Advisory Committee, I was given a warm invitation to the YAC community from both seasoned and incoming members, which in turn fostered strong connections that were reflected in the work we do as a team. As serving as President of the YAC was my first time being a part of a national committee, I learned how physical boundaries do not limit the work of an advisory team, as Experiences Canada has reached an amazing amount of students and geographic locations. Although our exchanges and initiatives may have passed, the friendships made as well as th e impact it’s had on our lives will last much longer than one year. I will forever be grateful that I was given the many opportunities Experiences Canada has offered, and am dedicated to ensuring other youth have the same experiences I have.