On Saturday February 14th I had the honour of spending time with a group of Indigenous leaders from across Manitoba at the University of Brandon at the Working Together to Support Youth Success — Youth Voices Forum. It was an honour to provide a keynote address after the group’s Elder & Helper shared a pipe ceremony. I brought the North End Megaphone with me and the student leaders got to hear me rant about the importance of us as youth to lead by example when measuring success. A special focus was put on the importance of encouraging and giving our attention to positive things that work well, instead of agonizing over the challenges we face. The megaphone allowed me to share a simple action for all of us to take back to our many communities: amplify the goodness!
My speech began with a reference to my friend Dale. That morning after waking up at 4am and driving a couple hours to Brandon with Riele & her mom, a group including some of the organizers were walking across campus. We hadn’t yet had coffee and were on our way to get some food when I asked the organizers about my friend Dale, if he was around, as he had put my name forward as a possible speaker. They hadn’t seen him, but confirmed he was there. As we approached the doors of our destination, I was pleasantly surprised to see Dale himself come bursting out the doors and go running past with smiles and words of welcome. That moment provided me with the starting point of my speech: spirit texting. What is that? AYO leaders have defined it as the ability of people who , when their minds, hearts and bodies are balanced, can send simple messages to their friends and loved ones without saying or sending any words physically/digitally. In my estimation, Dale recieved my spirit text and creation worked in such a way that allowed him to come and say ‘what’s up’ in a moment when my spirit wanted to greet his spirit.
It reminds me that there are no mistakes – only lessons. In my corresponding workshops I shared with these leaders the ARROWS Youth Engagement Strategy as well as the AYO Leadership Model. I can’t wait to see the amazing ways these leaders are going to continue to contribute to the successes of the youth in their communities.