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An “unforgettable” weekend!

By Selina Hunt, Youth Programs Officer

From January 13 to 16, 2023, youth representatives from all across Canada gathered at Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada’s head office in Montreal for a weekend of training, team building and capacity strengthening to reenergize the youth movement. While some participants have been part of the our movement for over 10 years, for others like Hadrien Gayap, this was the very first experience with Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada!

I attended the DPCC Youth Assembly for the first time as a Francophone representative. Meeting such dynamic and enthusiastic young people was a source of much joy. We also learned a lot, both about Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada and about our own personal development. I understood the true meaning of leadership and this organization’s mission in the world, within which I found my place. I think the future of the youth movement in DPCC is promising. It was an unforgettable time.

Hadrien Gayap, Moncton, N.B.

On Friday, we kicked the weekend off with Cookie Mining, a fun game that exposes the injustice of resource theft and land grabbing. The activity served as an introduction to how we work; the Catholic Social Teaching that animates us; and our current Stand for the Land campaign.

On Saturday morning, we heard from Rebecca Rathbone, one of our former animators. She joined us from the Office Promoting Youth Leadership at Caritas Internationalis in Rome, where she now works. We also received updates from president Brenda Arakaza, who is also the francophone youth representative on the national council, and from her anglophone counterpart, Reanne Laurie.

Saturday afternoon included a presentation on our partnership with Caritas Bangladesh by international projects funding officer Judith Faucher, and a workshop on “Listening and Leadership” by Ontario national member Gabrielle Dupuis.

Saturday evening featured Mass at the historic Notre Dame Basilica and supper at Frite Alors!

On Sunday, we focused on goal setting, idea sharing, communication planning, and strategic planning with Kathleen Cross, who is leading our ongoing strategic planning project. The weekend also featured icebreakers and reflections led by youth reps, including a reflection from Laura Munevar and Nicole Forestell based on their experience at a CIDSE camp last year in Portugal.

We encourage you to reach out to the animator or youth rep in your region to find out how you can join or support youth-led initiatives with Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada.

I enjoyed my weekend at the Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada Youth Assembly. Firstly, I appreciated the fact that we did an overview of the social teachings of the Catholic Church, as these are at the heart of Development and Peace’s mission. Secondly, it was very useful to analyze the governance structure of Development and Peace and the role that the organization plays within the Caritas Internationalis network. It was also very touching to see the presentation of Judith Faucher who went to visit a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh in November 2022. Looking at these pictures, I could not help but think of how easy life is here in Canada! Gabrielle Dupuis’ workshop on leadership and listening skills also gave me many new skills. After Mass in the beautiful Notre-Dame Basilica, we created an action plan to determine what we can do as youth representatives in our dioceses and local communities. Thank you all for a memorable weekend!

Pierre Courchaine, Winnipeg, Man.

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