A Unique Program Connecting Youth from the Military Community and Civilian Youth

CFB VALCARTIER, QC, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - Today, SEVEC, the Society for Educational Visits and Exchanges in Canada, announced an exchange program connecting youth who are part of the military community with youth who have little familiarity with the military lifestyle.  Today's launch is the first of three that will take place across the country.

Under the Youth Saluting Youth program, young people aged 12 to 17 years from both civilian and military families will be eligible to participate in exchanges across Canada. Through exchanges, participants will spend a week living in each other's homes and experience life in another environment thereby gaining a greater understanding and knowledge of each other's communities.  The Program is funded through private donations. 

"SEVEC has long been a leader in facilitating youth exchanges," said Françoise Gagnon, Executive Director, SEVEC. "However, with the many experiences we offer through our cultural and bilingual exchanges, there was no program providing youth with a first-hand perspective of what life is like for kids growing up in a military community. In fact, even as adults, few of us have ever been on a base or experienced that lifestyle."

"We are pleased to play a part in this unique program and welcome this opportunity for military families.  Exchanges for youth are an excellent way to build bridges and to foster a shared understanding of different family dynamics," said Major General (Ret'd) Douglas Langton, Associate Director General, Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services.

On-hand to mark the celebration were 15 youth affiliated with Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Valcartier and who played host to 20 youth from Plessisville, Quebec.  They participated in on-base activities as well as shared thoughts about what makes their lives unique, exploring questions such as:  How does it feel to have your parent deployed on a mission? What is it like to be born and raised in the same community without ever having to move?

"At the end of the day, we're all teenagers, we like our music and hanging out with friends," said Kassandra Potvin from Dollard-des-Ormeaux school in Valcartier.  "But my life is different in some ways. I've grown up around the military.  My dad wears a uniform and serves in the Forces.  Every few years we get transferred to a new town where I don't know anyone.  It means I make friends all over the country, it also means leaving friends behind."

"Beyond what kids may hear on the news, most have no familiarity with life for our military families," said Daniel Bernier, a teacher who brought his students to take part in this experience.  "Being here, seeing the men and women in uniform, puts it all in perspective for them.  It's no longer just a headline in a newspaper, this is real life.  It's an educational experience unlike any other."

"Youth Saluting Youth is a wonderful learning opportunity for the young men and women who are selected to take part in this exchange program. It will foster a closer understanding between the youth of civilian and military families across the nation, increase their awareness of the rich cultural mosaic in which we live and prepare them for the leadership challenges of tomorrow.  This is an experience that will last a lifetime." said General (Retired) Raymond Henault, former Chief of Defence Staff and Chairman of the Board and Strategic Executive Advisor, ADGA Group, who was on hand for the event.  "ADGA Group is proud to be one of the corporate sponsors for this very worthwhile endeavour, with its emphasis on both military and civilian families across Canada. We salute SEVEC and the Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services for making it a reality."

SEVEC is a national charitable organization and a leader in providing educational exchanges and forums for Canadian youth for 75 years.

CFPFSS is responsible for delivering morale and welfare programs, services, and activities to serving and former members of the Canadian Forces and their families.  

SOURCE Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services

For further information:

For more information on Youth Saluting Youth or other SEVEC programming, please contact: Françoise Gagnon, Executive Director, SEVEC 613-327-9980,

For more information on Canadian Forces Personnel and Family Support Services, please contact:  Christine Meyer, 613-947-3823,

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