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Inspiration and connection at the 2024 National Youth Assembly

By Selina Hunt, Youth Programs Officer

Youth assembly Assemblée jeunesse
Youth leaders of the Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada movement met in Montreal over a weekend in February 2024.

The 2024 National Youth Assembly was held in Montreal from February 16 to 18, 2024. It brought together 18 young adults from across Canada―regional youth representatives, youth ambassadors, and national council youth representatives―for a weekend of training, planning and team building.

On the Friday evening, we launched an interactive version of our new Solidarity Snakes and Ladders game. On Saturday, we heard from international programs director Stéphane Vinhas about Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada’s work and partnerships around the world. We also worked to adapt the D&P Schools program for university and parish groups. In regional groups with the youth ambassadors, we learned about the successes and challenges of youth engagement in each region. Brenda Arakaza and Reanne Laurie spoke about their work on the national council. Valérie Caza shared her experience of participating in Caritas Intenationalis’s World Youth Day celebrations in Lisbon, Portugal. Visiting St. Patrick’s Basilica for Mass and enjoying supper at Beijing Dumpling were other Saturday highlights.

On Sunday, we focused on planning for the year ahead and set some excellent objectives as individual reps and ambassadors, and as a national youth program!

Here is what some participants said about their experience:

“It was a memorable weekend where I met other young people from across Canada who, like me, want to spread the work and mission of Development and Peace here, and around the world. Through prayer activities, songs, games, presentations and fellowship opportunities, I can say that I have now acquired more of the skills necessary to help me promote the mission of Development and Peace back home in Manitoba.”
― Pierre Courchaine, francophone youth representative for Manitoba

“I learned more about the very essence of Development and Peace, and I love this organization even more because it is based on such noble values and inspiring energy. These precious moments give an even deeper meaning to our work and strengthen my determination to contribute to change. In just a few days, we were able to form a real team, united by our common desire to act and our commitment to Development and Peace.”
― Marina Bonnin, youth ambassador, Ottawa, Ont.

“In my opinion, the Youth Assembly lived up to all its promises, providing a friendly, fun learning environment and a great opportunity to talk about our respective realities. I am looking forward to the next assembly.”
― Aïcha Saoukpamrou, youth representative at Université Laval, Quebec City, Que.

“I had the privilege of attending my first Youth Assembly, and I must say, it was an experience that surpassed all my expectations. The most profound takeaway was the palpable sense of inspiration drawn from our collective faith. I felt a deep connection to the teachings of Jesus guiding our efforts and reinforcing my desire to contribute even more passionately to our cause.”
― Oscar Baron Ruiz, youth representative for Alberta and the Northwest Territories

“This year, I really enjoyed when we did various small group stations that allowed us to learn more about DPCC and social justice topics. For example, we learned more about the impacts of fast fashion on the environment and tapped into our creative side with play dough and songs to share.”
― Valérie Caza, youth representative for Saskatchewan

“The Youth Assembly is the time of year when we get to solidify new friendships with like-minded young people around Canada and leave inspired and more educated on the steps we need to take in our regions to make an impact. The greatest part is seeing a combination of familiar faces from past years and new faces every year. The movement is far from stagnant; it is ever-changing, growing and adapting to the times.”
― Molly Fisher, youth representative for Southwestern Ontario

If you are a young adult interested in getting involved with us, please contact me at Selina.Hunt@devp.org.

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