2020 Project North: Youth Leadership Summit

Salma and Hassan social distance and open their Youth Summit packages.

MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 2020

2020 Project North: Youth Leadership Summit 

Sponsored by Nova Chemicals, the 2020 Project North: Youth Leadership summit took place virtually on August 12 and 13 with a day of giving back to the community on August 22. The event brought together 51 youth providing them with the opportunity to engage with one another virtually to promote diversity and inclusion. 

The selected participants were from all different backgrounds who are interested in becoming better leaders and are willing to commit themselves to developing their own leadership skills, learning about each other, developing an expanded provincial view and giving back to the community through volunteerism and special projects.  

Before the summit, the selected youth participants received welcome packages to their front doors. Technology equipment was also available for those who needed it to eliminate any barriers. On August 12 and 13, youth participated in the virtual summit where they took part in workshops around the themes of social justice, reconciliation, and mental health, and were inspired and motivated by hearing from special keynote speakers and guest facilitators from our communities, and also from around the country.  

Youth were greeted daily from YMCASWO leaders who opened with Y stories including; Andrew Lockie, Mike Ennis, and Krista Gillespie. Keynote speakers for the summit included Anthony McLean who addressed the youth with an engaging and inspiring presentation on how to be anti-racist and Olivia Musico who participated in Project Kenya and spoke about how she uses climbing a mountain as a metaphor for her life through her journey with mental health. 

Workshops were facilitated by Megan Walker: ACCESS Open Minds, Richie Bloomfield: Urban Roots London, Jasmin Glaw: CNNK Creative, Lindsay Kirkland: Stigma Survivors, Megan Lee Nahmabin: Right to Play, Leroy Hibbert: Social Justice, and Tracey Stub and Rebecca D’Souza: both from the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario. 

Lead by youth facilitators, participants were then divided into groups to discuss what they have learned and came up with a plan of action on how they will give back to their community. At the end of the second day, youth were delivered a pizza with their favourite toppings and ate ‘together’ while listening to a special message from our sponsor, Nova Chemicals and from keynote speaker Anthony McLean. Then to close the virtual summit…they danced to some awesome music. 

On August 22 youth participants were invited to go back to their own community and take part in a day of good deeds. Youth contributed by picking up garbage in their local parks and creating resource bags for community member; creating positive change in their communities. 

This project was youth-led, bringing together a collaborative team with members from youth engagement, newcomer services, overnight camp, and Right to Play.