We are honoured to host Gathering Our Voices National Aboriginal Youth Conference on the territory of Westbank First Nations.
From March 21 – 24, 2017 GOV will bring together more than 1000 Indigenous youth delegates as well as chaperones, presenters and guests to Kelowna, BC. Young people from all across across Canada are invited to join us to explore, to learn and to engage with our culture among peers. This year’s conference is rooted in culture.
Youth, chaperones, presenters, exhibitors, Elders, volunteers and other guests will have the opportunity to make new connections, rekindle old bonds, engage their passions and discover a new drive. How can we improve the present? How can we create a brighter future for ourselves? Are we prepared to face the upcoming challenges?
Join us and learn from pillars of our community, hear their stories, their struggles, and their triumphs. Then, forge your own way by creating your own special blend of workshops, it is your choice what you learn, just as it is your future. Spend your evenings participating in our live Talent Showcase and dance party. Finally, reconnect to your roots during our cultural morning and closing ceremonies.
A Glimpse Of The Past
The BCAAFC has previously hosted fourteen Aboriginal Youth Conferences. Youth delegates and chaperones from all over the country travel at their own expense to attend these conferences. The purpose of these conferences is to unite youth throughout the country in learning, healing and sharing and to provide tangible tools, resources and knowledge that the youth can bring back to their communities.
The first two conferences hosted over 100 youth attendees, while the third saw attendance triple to over 460 youth delegates. The fourth and fifth conferences doubled attendance to over 800 youth. The 2008 Conference in Victoria had nearly 1000 people in attendance; the 2009 Conference in Kelowna had 1300 people attend; the 2010 Conference in Vancouver and the 2011 Conference in Prince Rupert, over 1500 people took part, in Nanaimo (2012) over 1600 people gathered together, in Penticton (2013) more than 2000 people participated, and Vancouver (2014) saw more than 2200 participants. In Prince George (2015) the conference reached capacity months before the event started. Last year in Victoria we reached 2000 registered delegates, even before early registration had closed. This overwhelming response serves to reinforce the need for a forum where Indigenous youth can come together to begin to make positive changes in their own lives and in their communities.