Conference inspires Central Alberta indigenous youth to become future leaders

The one-day event was held at Red Deer Polytechnic on Tuesday

More than 100 indigenious youth from Red Deer Public Schools and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools participated in a one-day conference celebrating indigenous culture. (Ecole Mother Teresa Catholic School Facebook Photo)

More than 100 indigenious youth from Red Deer Public Schools and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools participated in a one-day conference celebrating indigenous culture. (Ecole Mother Teresa Catholic School Facebook Photo)

Over 100 indigenous students from Central Alberta got the chance to connect and be inspired by indigenous leaders in their community this week.

On May 10, indigenous Grade 8 students from Red Deer Public Schools and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools participated in the Inspiring Success Youth Conference.

“We were very excited to bring this opportunity to Indigenous youth in Grade 8,” said Hayley Christen, Learning Services Coordinator with Red Deer Public Schools.

“It was an excellent opportunity for them to meet new friends and connect with other Indigenous youth in Central Alberta. We wanted the young people to know they are not alone and we also hope the connections they make today will carry forward when they go on to high school. This was a fun, engaging, and meaningful day for all the youth involved!”

The students participated in 10 different sessions ranging from goal setting, student success, resilience, Reconciliation, and Indigenous games, along with the opportunity to hear the personal journeys of several Indigenous mentors and leaders.

“This conference has been a beautiful event for the students to witness firsthand the success of other Indigenous people in the local community and come together to connect with Indigenous Grade 8 students,” said Selena Frizzley, Coordinator of Indigenous Education Services with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

“We had students attend from Rocky Mountain House, Olds, Innisfail and Red Deer. Students left feeling empowered and hopeful after gaining traditional teachings from Elders and Knowledge Keepers.”

The event was hosted at Red Deer Polytechnic and included keynote speaker Logan Beauchamp, and Polytechnic staff assumed throughout the planning and delivery of this impactful conference.

“This conference was a way to introduce Indigenous youth to positive role models from their own community. It was also a great way to introduce these youth to more aspects of our cultures, something that a lot of Indigenous youth feel disconnected from,” said Beauchamp, Ambassador of Hope with We Matters.

“As well, we were able to highlight some resources and organizations that are doing great things in our community that these youth can access. Most importantly, this conference was hopefully able to help these youth create their own definition of success and help them envision and plan how they can get there.”