150 'Canada 150&Me' Youth to Descend on Ottawa With Boundless Ideas and Energy to Fuel the Sesquicentennial Celebrations

OTTAWA, June 22, 2017 /CNW/ - One hundred and fifty youth between the ages of 14-19, chosen from across Canada, will arrive in Ottawa on June 24 for eight days of experiential learning, leadership development, and community engagement activities as part of Canada 150&Me. The year-long project is aimed at starting a national conversation among youth about the greatest challenges and opportunities facing Canada for their generation.

For a complete list of national youth participants please visit http://experiencescanada.ca/150/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Liste-Nationale-des-Participants-Media.pdf

Over the course of eight days, 150 youth will participate in a number of activities throughout the region, including attending the Governor General's Awards on the Performing Arts; volunteering at the Gloucester Community Garden, Gatineau Park and Ottawa 2017's 'Picnic on the Bridge'; as well as visiting Parliament Hill and national museums. They will also have key roles to play in the Canada 150 celebrations, performing in the Canada Day noon hour show, and acting as National Gallery "teen docents for a day," talking to visitors about their favorite pieces in the Canadian Art Collection.

"Ottawa is proud to welcome Canada 150&Me participants to our beautiful city," said Mayor Jim Watson. "As we celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary, there is no greater place to be and to partake in the festivities than in our Nation's Capital. We hope our young guests will make the most of their Canada 150&Me experience, engage in meaningful dialogue, and create lasting memories with new friends."

While in Ottawa, the participants will present the collective results and recommendations from a series of Regional Forums that took place across the country, discussing the greatest challenges and opportunities for Canada's future. An estimated 2,900 youth took part in the Forums, addressing subjects ranging from mental health, relationships with Indigenous People, LGBTQ rights, humanitarian assistance, the environment and sustainable development, social inclusion, diversity, education, the economy and the attachment to social media. 

"TD Bank Group has been pleased to support initiatives like the Canada 150&Me Youth Forums, that inspire young Canadians to consider how they can make a difference in the world around them," added Valérie Picher, AVP Community Relations, TD Bank Group. "As the world continues to change at a rapid pace, greater public awareness and community engagement is the first step in addressing some of the biggest challenges ahead of us.  Building that awareness at an early age will ensure that Canadians, both at home and abroad, set a positive example for social responsibility and building sustainable communities."

Recommendations from each of the four regional forums will be presented to business and political leaders and government officials at the National Youth Forum in Ottawa on June 26 with keynote speakers. The 150 youth will present a series of eight 5-minute multi-media presentations they have worked on collectively to represent the main ideas and highlights from the forums they attended.  Special guests include His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada; renowned author and historian, Charlotte Gray, C.M; National Chief Perry Bellegarde, of the Assembly of First Nations; and Will Amos, MP, Pontiac.

"We see Canada 150 as a milestone. It's not only an opportunity to reflect on our past 150 years as a confederation, but it's also an opportunity to put young people at the forefront of an exploration of the Canada we want for the next 150 years. So we started a conversation and challenged young people to help shape the future of Canada.  We asked them to speak up, speak often and speak loudly," says Deborah Morrison, President & CEO of Experiences Canada.  "Have they ever!  Seeing opportunities and overcoming challenges are very much parts of their young lives.  It's often the small, early steps we take that can have a huge ripple effect.  This will be our Canada 150&Me legacy – motivating thousands of young people to get more involved in their communities and to interest them in national public policy."

Canada 150&Me is a signature Canada 150 initiative generously supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The project is also made possible with the support of presenting sponsor TD Bank Group, and national sponsors Great West Life, the McCain Foundation, Shaw Communications and WestJet. The project has also benefited from a special partnership celebrating the Order of Canada's 50th anniversary. Program partners for the national capital region include Ottawa 2017, Aga Khan Foundation, Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Organizing Committee, Friends of Gatineau Park, National Gallery of Canada, and Museum of Nature.

About Experiences Canada

Experiences Canada is widely recognized as Canada's leading service provider for youth exchanges. Launched in 1936 and previously known as SEVEC, Experiences Canada arranges travel, accommodation and programming for an estimated 5,000 young Canadians who participate in reciprocal exchanges annually.

About Canada 150

As much as Canada's Centennial in 1967 belonged to an entire generation of Canadians, 2017 should belong to this generation. The goal of Canada 150&Me was to involve thousands of young Canadians in a conversation about Canada's future, encouraging young people to take a leadership role in celebrating Canada's 150th birthday.  Canada 150&Me was a national competition for youth between the ages of 14-19.  It started with asking students: "What is Canada's greatest challenge or opportunity facing your generation." 150 participants were selected travelled to one of four cities – Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal or Halifax - for an exciting week of educational, cultural and community activities.  They were joined by other youth on-site and on-line at a one-day Canada 150&Me Youth Forum in each city based on a theme young people chose as the most relevant.   A second group of 150 participants were selected to travel to Ottawa from on-site and on-line participants at regional forums.

BIOS OF GUEST SPEAKERS

HIS EXCELLENCY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
DAVID JOHNSTON, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., GOVERNOR GENERAL
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, the 28th Governor General of Canada, has dedicated his life to public service. A strong believer in both equality of opportunity and excellence, he spent most of his career in higher education as a professor and later administrator of several of Canada's leading universities. His Excellency has focused his mandate on strengthening learning and innovation, philanthropy and volunteerism, and families and children. Since his installation as governor general in October 2010, Mr. Johnston has travelled widely across Canada and around the world, connecting, honouring and inspiring Canadians and their global partners.

NATIONAL CHIEF PERRY BELLEGARDE
Perry Bellegarde was named Assembly of First Nations National Chief on December 10, 2014. He has spent his entire adult life putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by the many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years. Passionate about making measureable progress on the issues that matter most to First Nations people, National Chief Bellegarde is a strong advocate for the implementation of Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.  Widely known as a consensus builder with a track record of accomplishment, he brings community people, leaders, Chiefs and Elders together to focus on working cooperatively to move issues forward. 

WILL AMOS, M.P., PONTIAC
Will is a recognized expert in environmental law and natural resources. For years he has been advocating for environmental protection and sustainable resource development – holding governments and corporations accountable to Canadians. He has also written numerous publications on various environmental law topics and has participated on a number of parliamentary committees. During his career, Will has worked in various legal areas throughout the private, public and non-profit sectors.  Prior to his election, Will was the regional director of a national environmental law charity, which offers legal advice free of charge to community groups and individuals regarding environmental matters. He also taught at the University of Ottawa and was a regular guest commentator in the national media, speaking on a range of issues.

CHARLOTTE GRAY, C.M.
Charlotte Gray has provided Canadians with rich and relevant connections to our history, helping us to understand how our past shapes the Canada of today. A historical biographer, author of ten acclaimed books, she is a brilliant storyteller who is known for her meticulous research and her gift for analyzing human motivation. She has shed new light on the important role women played in our history by bringing to life some of our most remarkable and interesting personalities, such as Susanna Moodie and Isabel Mackenzie King. An adjunct professor at Carleton University, she is also a respected media commentator and volunteer with organizations such as the Dominion Institute and Canada's National History Society. Charlotte's most recent book is The Promise of Canada: 150 Years — People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country.

 

SOURCE Experiences Canada

For further information: Debra Davis, 613-929-3942 cell, 613-727-3832 x 206 office, ddavis@experiencescanada.ca; Myriam Giroux, 613-727-3832 x 208 office, 613-447-1566 cell, mgiroux@experiencescanada.ca

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