On May 9th, St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club had the pleasure of hosting a group of students from Sunchild First Nation School, who live on the Sunchild 202 Reserve in Alberta. They arrived to Toronto as part of the Youth Exchanges Canada (YEC) program: The YEC is a unique program that gives youth the opportunity to travel to another province or territory, learn about Canada’s heritage, and take pride in their own communities.
During their stay, St. Alban’s youth and Sunchild First Nation school students got to know each other through ice-breaker games during a pot-luck dinner. Afterwards, students played a group game of volleyball, which built their communication, leadership, and teamwork skills!
We started off the week with a guided bus tour of downtown Toronto, exploring Casa Loma, Yorkville, Chinatown, Nathan Phillips Square, and the University of Toronto. The tour highlighted Toronto’s culture and diversity. We finished the day off with a Toronto Blue Jays game, which many students said they are a fan of!
Later in the week, students participated in the annual DSAT Buddy Walk supporting Down Syndrome awareness for community engagement. Sunchild First Nation students witnessed a beautiful and emotional speech by our long-time youth member Olivia and her mother. We ended the 5-day itinerary with a day trip to Niagara Falls, the CN Tower and the Ripley’s Aquarium!
St. Alban’s has participated in this program for 15 years and this is the 2nd year in a row that St. Alban’s leaders Cindy and Kat have done the program together. What makes this program extra special are the relationships that are made. It’s also fun to interact with new people and learn about different cultures across Canada. I would highly recommend this program to all youth. It is definitely a life-changing experience.
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post, highlighting our experience at Sunchild First Nation School!