The INSPIRING MORE Conference was an amazing lesson for me. The I wasn’t able to attend the first day of the event, as that Thursday, I emceed a conference called the EAGLE Urban Service Provider’s Forum – an annual initiative of the EAGLE Urban Transition Centre. We tried to share info with the rest of the world with the hashtag #eagleSPF. It was a great opportunity to connect Winnipeg based service providers with one another and also provide valuable networking opportunities so that these agencies can better provide a spectrum of services to assist our young people and all folks transitioning into and out of the city the necessary supports they need.
The conference itself was a party. I learned about how engaged the kids were through the social media at the event which was great, they used the tag #IMwpg – check it out, its tons of fun. There was a DJ who was playing music in between speakers and during breaks, there were youth aged crowd energizers and the emcees were the amazing Paul and Miss Melissa of Streetz/NCI fame. The environment was extremely welcoming and relaxed and the attendees were many of the young people who had participated in the founding of AYO and many of our initiatives. The artists behind our original Creative Expressions logo was there, the young ladies who organized the March for Clarky Stevenson in 2011, planting the seeds for MM@BT and of course it was awesome acknowledging Miss Melissa and Streetz as the force behind the North End Megaphone. A very inspiring conference for me, where I had an opportunity to share a few words with these very simple messages
- DON’T WAIT – for others to help. Young people do not have to wait for money or for adults or for programs before they help address the issues that matter and affect them. Don’t wait for a pay cheque to help, giving freely of your time and gifts often leads to paid employment in that field (seriously, if you never give up trying, eventually you will be successful).
- Wear your Medicine Wheel Glasses when building ideas and relationships, they will help you see the world in four dimensions. We must look at situations and one another not only as the physical beings we see with our eyes, but also acknowledge the minds, hearts and especially spirits of those around us.
- Responsibility Based Leadership is the way to go. Gone are the days (hopefully) when Indigenous leadership stand in front of crowds ranting about entitlements and rights. Today, young people are responsible, they have gifts and know how to share them. It is our responsibility to develop these gifts of ours as best we can and share them freely.
- LOVE – more than any other message, I hope that the young people at the conference understood that the reason why I work as hard as I do and that the reason why AYO exists, and the reason why I fight so heard – is because I love them. I believe in these young people and am grateful for organizations like Kani Kanichihk and Ndinawe that provide opportunities for young Indigenous people to get to know who they are – ’cause out of those programs have come the strongest relationships I have ever known. I made a special emphasis for the boys – it is important for us men to show love. Relationships that I believe have the power to heal our nations, all of them.
What an amazing week it has been. The opportunities have been coming fast – they have been intense and demanding. The AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities) Leadership team is on fire – they are working away in so many different directions that very soon the world will see how (not) crazy we really are(n’t). Working cooperatively with Angie, Dave, Riele & the team at POP Sports & Entertainment, it’s looking like the spring and summer will be awesome, providing opportunities to speak to young people in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Toronto in coming weeks
Love & Respect
PS – Check out our POLITIXBS blog, the post I wrote on the Rob Ford Effect was selected as the Winnipeg Free Press Blog of the Week, check it here.