Honouring the strengths of youth

Honouring the strengths of youth

When BYTE was invited last month to come work with the NWT Literacy Council and several of their partners, we jumped at the chance!

This would be a first visit to Yellowknife for our organization. We would get to spend two days with other youth workers sharing what we love about working with youth and how we approach youth facilitation – we were stoked!

BYTE —Empowering Youth Society is a group that is for youth, by youth. It was founded in Whitehorse, Yukon in 1998. The organization was born out of the idea that youth need spaces for their opinions, ideas, and passions. Our mission remains the same 20 years later. It is still to create spaces for northern youth to lead. In 2014, we did change our name from Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE) to BYTE – Empowering Youth Society!

We empower youth by travelling to communities in Yukon and some areas of NWT and Northern BC to meet youth where they are at, and facilitating youth-friendly workshops on a variety of topics such as Healthy Minds, Healthy Relationships, Safer Partying, and Leadership.

For our first trip to Yellowknife, we met with youth workers from across the NWT to deliver our two-day “Facilitating for Youth” training. We discussed what youth facilitation is and what makes a good facilitator, and we modelled some fun new games and activities for others to try.

It’s important to us to spend our first morning of the training discussing the strengths, challenges, and unique qualities of the youth in the region. The participants shared a long list of strengths of the youth in their communities. Each person reminded the others that NWT youth are smart, friendly, talented, welcoming, adaptable, resilient, brave, eager to learn, open minded, and energetic.

At its core, that is what facilitating for youth is all about. A good facilitator for youth recognizes and honours the strengths of the young people we work with. We know that no matter what, each youth we work with brings their own strengths to our programs!

A huge thank you to all the smart, friendly, talented, welcoming, adaptable, resilient, brave, eager to learn, open minded, and energetic young people who continually inspire us youth workers to keep doing the work we do!

Thank you to guest blogger, Shelby Maunder, the executive director of BYTE.

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