Healthy Communities

Newcomer youth build bridges at 2017 Integration Conference

By Rheign Morales

On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, over 120 Newcomer Youth Leadership Development Program (NYLD) participants from across the GTA gathered at YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre for their annual Integration Conference. This event is a great opportunity for participants to connect with one another, celebrate their cultures, and enhance their leadership skills through interactive activities and discussions.

The conference, like the NYLD program itself, aims to celebrate Canada’s amazing diversity while helping make sure that newcomers, especially youth, are keeping their cultural identity. The theme for this year’s conference was “Bridging Two Worlds,” and focused on helping newcomer youth explore their deep cultural identity. Immigrating into a new country far different from your own is a big obstacle newcomer youth face as they are challenged to take on different lifestyles.

NYLD mentors organized workshops with games to help the participants explore issues relating to the duality of their identity as an immigrant youth.  The youth decorated masks, played games, and took part in outdoor activities at Cedar Glen such has high ropes, orienteering, giant maze and archery.

Conference participants took home with them a deeper understanding of the importance of keeping their cultural identities, and why building a bridge to connect and embrace your culture and that of your new home is one of the great aspects that shape you as a person.