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On May 15, Shulus Arbour was filled with energy, laughter, and a palpable sense of empowerment as the first ever Youth Resiliency Conference unfolded. A collaborative effort between the Citxw Nlaka'pamux Assembly (CNA), Lower Nicola Indian Band (LNIB), and Teck Highland Valley Copper, this groundbreaking event aimed to nurture and celebrate the strength and potential of our youth. Over 100 students from area schools gathered to partake in a day filled with resources, connections, games, and invaluable insights.

The atmosphere buzzed with excitement as students engaged in various activities, including a photo booth, custom painted sweater making, and stimulating discussion panels led by Women in Industry. Welcoming remarks from LNIB, CNA, and Teck leadership set the tone for a day dedicated to empowerment and growth.

Local talent and speakers empowered youth with wisdom throughout the day. Custom hoodies were facilitated by the Nicola Valley Arts Council with local artists Leonard George of Coldwater with his custom made nleʔképmx art stencils, along with Brooklyn Harris.

Our morning speaker was Melissa Moses of Lower Nicola, Women’s Representative for the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, a captivating motivational speaker, and experienced self defence teacher. The afternoon speaker was Gary Abbott of Siska, an inspiring motivational speaker and taekwondo instructor.

Virginia Aspinall, nłeʔképmx Programs Manager for CNA, expressed profound satisfaction with the outcome of the Youth Resiliency Conference, emphasizing the transformative impact of collaborative efforts.

"The Youth Resiliency Conference exceeded our expectations in every way. It was a deeply moving experience to witness the synergy between organizations, mentors, and youth, all coming together to create a supportive and inspiring environment. This event not only provided valuable resources and insights but also fostered a sense of belonging and empowerment among the participants. It underscored the importance of collaboration in uplifting our youth and reaffirmed our commitment to investing in their growth and well-being. The success of this conference is a testament to the strength and resilience of our community, and I am immensely proud to have been a part of it."

Throughout the day, students had the opportunity to hear from mentors, knowledge keepers, and keynote speakers who shared valuable life skills and perspectives. Lunch, prizes, and multiple keynotes added to the vibrant tapestry of the event, leaving attendees feeling enriched and empowered.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, one grade 9 student shared their perspective on the event, highlighting its significance: "The resources and people here showed me that I'm not alone in my journey. I gained new skills and connections and felt supported by my community.”

The Youth Resiliency Conference served as a testament to the importance of investing in our youth. By providing them with resources, mentorship, and a supportive community, we equip them with the tools they need to navigate life's challenges and thrive.

As we celebrate the success of this inaugural event, let us reaffirm our commitment to nurturing the potential of our youth. They are not just the leaders of tomorrow; they are the change-makers of today, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure they have the support and opportunities they need to succeed.