Gathering our Voices
The Gathering Our Voices (GOV) youth leadership training, hosted by the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) and its Provincial Aboriginal Youth Council (PAYC), is held annually in March during the education break. The local Friendship Centre and surrounding First Nations are engaged to ensure the community is consulted from planning to implementation.
Since GOV began, the goal for the leadership training has been simple and unwavering: PROVIDE INDIGENOUS YOUTH WITH THE TOOLS TO WORK TOWARDS A BETTER TOMORROW by improving themselves and the world in which they live. Over the course of four days, up to 1,500 delegates gather from across Canada to participate in ceremonies, workshops and engaging, informative and educational experiences.
Youth take part in workshops addressing important issues they face today, including:
• self esteem and leadership development
• anti-violence and anti-bullying
• health and wellness
• physical activity, sport and recreation
• education and career planning
Also, each year the youth outdo themselves with an entertaining evening of world-class performances at the Youth Talent Showcase.
GOV is guided by a Steering Committee who assist with setting the themes, selecting workshops, and inviting exhibitors and guest speakers. Having youth at the center of the leadership training, from its inception to the delivery of the event itself, creates an authentic and relevant experience for all in attendance.
GOV is held in various locations throughout the province to enable the greatest intake of new participants each year. Locations are rotated through Vancouver Island, lower mainland, the interior and the north.