The 2023 Yukon Youth Summit will be held at the Yukon Arts Centre April 16–19
The upcoming Yukon Youth Summit has a few main goals, according to Lindsay Cornell, executive director of Boys & Girls Club (BGC) Yukon and elected co-chair and fiscal convener of the Communities Building Youth Futures (CBYF) Yukon project. One is to create a large, connected and meaningful event for young people in the Yukon to come together in person, post-pandemic; the second is to facilitate an avenue to ensure that youth voices are celebrated in all aspects; and the third is to finalize the Territorial Youth Strategy (TYS).
“In terms of the goal to finalize the strategy and why it’s connected to the summit, the TYS came out of one of our town halls in 2018,” said Cornell, noting these town halls have been going on since 2017. “There was a call with a number of things going on, including mental wellness. The opioid crisis started in 2016, so by 2018 we were really seeing it.
“There’s a number of different challenges with remote communities, and voices meaningfully heard, and how decisions were being made. And so, at the time, we had ministers and young people and chiefs and community organizations all come together, and one of the calls was to create a strategy.”
The Yukon Youth Summit takes place over four days from April 16–19 at the Yukon Arts Centre (YAC). The first and last days are shorter, and all four days are full of activities and opportunities for youth. The events are mainly geared towards those within the 16–30 age bracket, but younger youth can participate, with guardian permission, in some cases. Throughout the four days, some of the activities and events include a youth concert, presentations by guest speakers, breakout sessions, and a sacred fire near the YAC (led by the Fire Keepers) to bookend the summit.
“The seventeenth will be a youth-focused day,” said Erin Cartan, project coordinator for CBYF. “So, we’re asking to have as few adults as we can on that day. We want it to be youth coming together and just being able to feel comfortable and work together on that day.”
The summit will also involve evening events at the Canada Games Centre (CGC) as well as at the BGC. In addition to CBYF, event sponsors of the Yukon Youth Summit include the Yukon government, the Youth of Today Society, BGC Yukon, Kwanlin Dun, BYTE, the Yukon Child & Youth Advocacy Office, the Ta’an Kwӓch’än Council, the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) and Air North.
“The Territorial Youth Strategy will go—once the final draft is done at the summit—back into communities where leaders will have a final look at it, because they’re also going to identify priority for this year,” said Cornell. “And then there’ll be a formal signing ceremony in June, and everyone will be invited back.”
The team also aims to have the next Yukon Youth Summit the same time next year, and in future years going forward. To learn more and see schedules and other information, as it becomes available, as well as to register and find out how you can get involved, visit yukonyouthsummit.com. Registration for the event is free and it can be attended in person or virtually.