A picture from the last Youth Conference held in March at the Centennial Centre.
An opportunity for Indigenous youth in the lakeland to connect is happening this week.
Frog Lake is currently hosting the 9th annual TCCFS East Society Youth Conference geared toward Indigenous kids.
Kathleen Gadwa, executive director of the organization, says the two-day event ending today at the New Horizons Centre is meant to empower and support youth.
“One of the goals is to show the young people that we as a community support them through education, through training programs, and bring to our communities individuals and organizations that will encourage and empower,” said Gadwa.
“Also to seek and explore opportunities outside of our First Nation to be a representative from the nation, and to also come back and teach. We’re just supporting our youth in education and training opportunities.”
Approximately 550 students and elders from Frog Lake, Kehewin, Ashmont, Edmonton, and Saskatchewan have come to the conference. They held a similar one this past March, but moved the permanent date to October to accommodate school’s schedules.
“The idea is to reach out and to let these people know we’re there to support them, the community supports them… and it’s been getting progressively bigger I believe each year,” said Gadwa.
The chance for positive interactions with elders is also important for the youth Gadwa said.
“It gives the youth the opportunities to speak to the elders, to engage them in conversations, or wanting to know things about how life was before.”
Some of this year’s break-out sessions include positive police interaction and Aboriginal policing, Powwow Dancing 101, and a fashion show culminating the end of the conference.
“We try to incorporate teaching, athletics in many sports. We also incorporate the cultural and tradition as what occurred today. We had a demonstration with the dances and the significance of each dance was one of the presentations today. It’s to encourage and empower.”
“They go out and do the modelling of the First Nations designers and it’s just magnificent to see them evolve their confidence and have them walk in front of everybody and they do an excellent job. They’re quick learners. Energetic. I think it’s one of the highlights for everyone.”
Popular comedic puppet, Emery Burningrass, will also be a keynote speaker tonight at the conference.
Ted Nolan and Miss Teen Universe Canada, Thaliya Dion, were two of the speakers at last year’s event.