Barriere Secondary School students, Madison Kerslake (grade 9), Jacob Peterson (grade 11), and Tyler Schilling (grade 9) attended the Encounters With Canada forum in Ottawa from April 11- 18.
Encounters with Canada (EWC) is the nation’s largest youth forum. The program offers an opportunity for young people from all across Canada, aged 14 – 17, to learn more about their country. There are various themes to choose from including Arts and Culture, Ecology and Environment, Experience Canada, International Affairs, Medicine and Health, Law, Journalism and Communications, and several others.
While in Ottawa for the EWC program, visiting youth stay at the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre. The facility provides dormitories, private rooms, a dining hall as well as sports and fitness facilities.
EWC is one of the many acclaimed programs of Historica Canada, and is recognized and endorsed by the Ministry of Education in every province and territory. The program also receives generous funding from Canadian Heritage, Veterans Affairs and others. Participation in the EWC program is also officially recognized by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program.
The Encounters Canada website states, “We believe introducing Canadian youth to our country’s diverse cultures, heritage, beliefs, contemporary issues, institutions and leaders opens their eyes to the vast potential of their own lives, as well as that of their communities, their nation and the world. Providing a platform where Canada’s youth voices are valued and heard leads to a strengthening of these voices, of youth leadership in Canada, and of our nation, as a whole. This is an opportunity like no other.”
Participating in the unique experience of forming a mini-Canada forum with other youth sharing this fantastic bilingual adventure, was not wasted on our three area teens who attended. Madison, Jacob and Tyler have shared with the Star/Journal some of their experiences.
“Encounters With Canada is a program where you fly to Ottawa for a week with 150 other students from across Canada. It was a wonderful experience where I met lots of new people and participated in many activities. The theme of the week that I went was sports week. I did activities such as break dance, gymnastics, swimming, and rock climbing. I would very much encourage other students to go on this trip if you have a chance, it will be an experienec of a lifetime.”
“My experience at Encounters With Canada was truly amazing. In April, I had the opportunity to meet with many kids from across Canada with similar interests, which in my case was sports. There were many cultural activities such as going to Parliament Hill and visiting multiple museums. Some of the highlights of my trip were attending a Junior league Hockey game, playing Ultimate and attending Boot Camp. I met students from communities both big and small and hope to stay in touch with many of them. All in all, EWC was a great opportunity and I strongly recommend Encounters With Canada to all the high schoolers in Barriere!”
“From April 11 to 18, Jacob Peterson, Madison Kerslake and myself went to Encounters With Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. This program is for students age 14 to 17. We had an opportunity to tour Parliament, go to a hockey game, and do many fun and new activities. We also met many new people from across the country.”