Highlights on Saskatoon Dec, 10. 2007
National Child day – November 20th /2007
This year on National Child day, we had out Youthscape steering committee organized a youth style event. There was another event happening in the city which was the 10th Anniversary Luncheon. I went to the luncheon and it was like all these older people with suits on and they looked so serious. I didn’t think that this would have been a good idea to bring youth to anyways so I’m glad that we had another event happening with our youthscape steering committee.
We had the event at Nutana Collegiate which is a high school and house’s C.R.U. (Community resources for you). The open Gym with the upstairs loft was a perfect place for a party… ehem ……….. I mean a National Child day event. We bought decorations from the dollar store and there wasn’t much of a selection so I bought like a Hawaiian theme party decorations. There was palm trees, long colorful orange, red and yellow ribbons taped up to the wall spiraled and looping.
Ok Picture this, You walk into the gym and you see A bunch of kids playing basketball and then when you walk up to the loft there’s little chili peppers, sombreros and pink flamingos all over the place. There was a table of food with nutritional snacks on it that was prepared by the youth launch’s nutritionist. Bonnie who is an Alumni Youth worker at Youth Launch Hooked that nutritionist up with the numbers of youth that would be in attendance and then the nutritionist made a very healthy snack enough for everyone. There was a catch in being able to eat the snacks, if you wrote on the Bulletin Board that was provided you could then eat the snacks. The Bulletin Board had paper taped to it and on front and back of the paper was questions directed at finding out what they know already
The first question was, “What is so wonderful about being a youth?” and the other question was “What do YOU need in order to have the best life possible?” This was a great opportunity to see if the youth could tell us how they feel about the whole youth thing. They wrote wonderful little things like Respect, Acceptance, and food and well a lot of things that all people need. It was just good to see what they know they need and want and how valuable it is to be young. We bought a camera so that we could take pictures, the only thing is we bought a disposable camera so the pictures are a little blurry and a little dark but we will try to get copies on a disc so that we can upload them onto a website.
Throughout the whole event, we had little Christmas ornaments kit’s from the dollar store lying around for those who don’t feel like participating. I learned that most youth that come from marginalized backgrounds usually have a different coping mechanism which is to be able to block things out. It is easier to listen when you are busy doing something with you hands because then the focus isn’t on whether your going to answer correctly it’s on what you hands are doing. It makes it easier for people who usually wouldn’t have any other way of communicating. The ornaments were intended for the Christmas tree at G.A.I.N. (Girls action information network) so that the youth’s work would be utilized.
We introduced ourselves as each Youthscape representative and our respective organizations and how we tie into Youthscape. We talked about how each of us had been in youth work we are all veteran youth volunteers, past youth council members and we got street knowledge to boot. All that information is really vital to how we will organize events and develop strategies to get youth engaged through different mediums, skills and or abilities. We all bring personal skills to the table as well.
Then we had a game that was developed by Kendra and Tenille. Kendra works at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge and Tenille is the C.R.U. (Community Resources For you) Coordinator. The developed a Half Pep rally Half Bingo game. We needed to find a way for the youth to be able to understand who the Youthscape steering committee is and what we can do for the youth and with them. It was a great way to network and share information on all our resources. We were all able to participate fully in the game because the youth had bingo cards but they were allowed to ask us youth workers for clues and or hints. When we were finished we gave the winning team prizes then when we had all the rest of the door prizes given out, which were so awesome.
After we were done everything we brought the pizza out and everyone had pizza and smiled and laughed!
It was great after it was over because everyone chipped in to help clean up and we decided to use all the decorations for another event but we would store them at the C.R.U. office. It was a great event I really enjoyed it because we had lots of youth from different organizations and they were networking together and sharing information without even knowing it and without being told to do it. That is how a lot of our events go, we always know we did it the right way when the kids and us don’t feel like we worked, it feels like FUN!
Well, so far we have done one Christmas party together, and it was at the Cosmo civic center in Saskatoon here. The Cosmo Civic Center is a place where they have various and diverse programming for youth and huge Gym in which we used for our youth Christmas party.
There were great Ideas flying around from each individual from making huge posters to having the kids be able to play basketball and just hang out. There was great Food; it was Calamari, Dry Ribs and Lasagna! There was Kid’s playing basketball and the break dancers warmed up in corner on big blue mats. There was young people eating, then they were playing a gingerbread house making contest which went over very well! There were a bunch of prizes from brand name sneakers like Nike Shoes and Basketball Shoes that were so fresh in style!
All of us from our youthscape steering committee have decided to start organizing our event’s together because then we are able to have a bigger budget for our youth event’s and a lot more people helping out in our community. Each youth is from a different youth organization and we all have different mandates and objectives, but we all have the same end result, youth engagement, so then we decided to do it together. Our event’s will have bigger numbers, it will be easier to clean up because we will have more help, our ideas will always be fresh because we are all running different programs and doing different outreach work. This is great because then we are able to have different perspectives on how to do things then that way we are using different approaches. We as alumni youth workers have found out that each individual is taught different and learns different so our different approaches are what’s going to help us in figuring out strategies on how to engage our youth.
The Coordinators Position
We all had a discussion about the Coordinators position and about how we are supposed to have a coordinator hired by January. The problems that presented were we didn’t have enough time to put someone through an orientation because the usual time for a probationary period is three months. The term would exist from January to March at this time because we are still debating on whether we will have enough monies fundraised for the March match! So the after a few hours of grueling conversation and a few pizzas, we decided that we will not hire a Coordinator because the position would suggest that the responsibilities would only be there own. That would mean that the coordinator would only be using there own strategies to develop the work plan for our team. We have been working together for at least a long enough time to say that the team we already have is good enough right now and would help just to use our already in place resources, ourselves. There are three youth workers right now hired to work for communities for children. Aleyna May Stene and Cassandra Chernoff are the program coordinators for G.A.I.N. (Girls Action Information Network). It would only make sense that we, the program coordinators be the people who fill the position because we are already doing the work. It makes even more sense because at times when I am stressed out and I feel like I can’t do this work anymore, we can rely on each other as we are all drug and alcohol free youth who have struggled to get where we are and understand each other’s backgrounds from an accepting perspective. We each bring beautiful qualities to the table when it comes to making a decision, we are all very different and that helps.
Really quickly I’d like to leave a little story with you Just to add on to my point of why the decision we made is the way it is.
A long time ago our first nation leaders weren’t elected or delegated and they weren’t put on a pedestal either. Each time someone did something great and it benefits the people, then at that moment that person is a leader. That doesn’t mean that every time something goes wrong that you rely on that person. It just means that when someone does something that helps out, then yes right on, but that doesn’t mean they know everything and that they can find the answer or strategy on how to fix the world, so then with that in mind we decided that coordinators position would not be the sole responsibility of one person, it would be the responsibility of three. We are all deciding to this together because we need support, we need new and fresh ideas, we don’t know everything and we have different resources to ask for help from. This will make our work easier and more fun because we can each decide what tasks to do based on our own skills and abilities. That is making sure that our need’s as youth, as coordinators and as young women are met. On the flipside, your needs as a national project, are to have a coordinator, you got three! Thanks taking the time to read my longest story … Have a Fabulous and wonderful day!
Written By Tala Tootoosis
Observed By : Cassandra and Aleyna
Coordinators of Youthscape