Growing as Leaders -- while having a great time!
Laughter, lively activities and moments of individual thought. At the 2023 Basin Youth Network Leadership Summit, these happened in abundance. The goal: to help youth absorb valuable life skills, plus express how they see the future of this region.
Ninety youth from around the Basin attended the event, which took place in Kimberley in May 2023 and was delivered by the Trust’s Basin Youth Network. But why the focus on leadership?
Like all of the regional group’s efforts, the summit is based on the needs and desires expressed by youth—and youth leadership has been the number one priority since the network began.
At the summit, youth get to grow their leadership skills, express opinions, find their voices, develop ideas and plan to take action in their communities. They also get to meet peers from other communities that they would not normally have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with. And although the topic is important, the organizers work hard to ensure that the event is fun and interactive, and there’s learning through doing.
The 2023 event also included Our Trust Our Future sessions. Here, the youth could tell the Trust what they think is important for the future of the Basin, and how they think the Trust could support these long-term goals.
Overall, the action-packed weekend was a success. Although the previous three summits organized by the Basin Youth Network have taken place every two years, the pandemic meant that a summit hadn’t been held since 2018. Therefore, it was extra meaningful to bring people together for this in-person experience.
Now, the youth who attended in 2023 have returned home—and who knows what the impacts will be. Hopefully, the experience has inspired them to consider what they’re passionate about in their communities and how they can help move things forward.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to attend the 2023 youth leadership summit in Kimberley. We learned about the Columbia Basin and what the Trust does, and I made new friends. I really enjoyed the Our Trust Our Future exercise.” – Sawyer Popovitch, Kimberley Youth Network
“I enjoyed meeting new people from the region and hearing from all the speakers. Learning more about community development and the ways youth, like me, can influence the future was pretty cool. I also appreciated being asked to share my thoughts and opinions about the future of the Basin.” – Anika Tiefenbach, Castlegar Youth Network.
“One word that I would use to describe the future of the Columbia Basin would be ‘hopeful,’ because it seems like there are going to be so many new and exciting opportunities, especially for youth in this area.” – Lydia Kalawsky, Rossland Youth Action Network
Keeping youth engaged
Throughout the Basin, youth have set their own priorities about what they want to achieve, and the Basin Youth Network is there to support them. For example, the network enables youth to connect and develop skills through programs like the leadership summit, a job readiness workshop and a mindfulness toolkit. It helps communities and others who work with youth to increase local activities and opportunities for youth. Plus, it supports local youth networks, currently in 27 communities.
Want to learn more about your local youth network? Find the list here: ourtrust.org/byn