As I reflect on the accomplishments of this past year, I am filled with a deep sense of pride and am very optimistic about the future. The celebrations of the 150th anniversary of our Confederation offered us the opportunity to reflect on the work we have done over the years. The Foundation’s mandate is to engage young Canadians as they learn about the role and function of the three levels of democratic government in Canada, and to promote Canadian citizenship. It began with the simple formula of bringing together interested and engaged youth from across the country to participate in a constructive and educational exploration of their national institutions. Our experience has shown that it was, indeed, a formula for success.
As alumna of the Forum for Young Canadians, I can personally attest to the positive impact that the program has, and will continue to have, on young leaders. With the equivalent of three full-time employees, short-term as well as part-time employees (numbers vary from year to year), and volunteer support, we deliver a program that distinguishes itself from any other youth program in the country. With over 22,000 alumni, it’s no surprise that our members are very active across the country as politicians, civil servants, educators, media personalities, lawyers, doctors, and leaders in their industry sectors, to name but a few. This past year, we tracked our alumni and learned how their Forum experience directly influenced their lives and careers. Many are volunteering and leadinginnovative initiatives in communities around the globe, using the skills they developed through our programs.
Our objective is to be innovative with the tools and opportunities we offer our participants. Our desire is to expand the Forum experience beyond the program in order to provide Canadian youth with a better understanding of our democracy and the processes of government, while empowering their leadership capacity through civic engagement. The Forum Experience begins approximately three months prior to the arrival of our participants. We are proud of our new interactive platform which provides online activities for our students and encourages them to actively engage in their learning process.
We strive to offer unique opportunities to our participants by collaborating with Government as well as with community partners.
Governance was a great priority in 2016-2017. Supported by the Chair of Governance, Bob Wiens, and the Ad Hoc Committee, the Foundation undertook a full restructuring and revision of our by-laws. As a result, a number of recommendations were made with the objective of making the Foundation more proactive while gaining organizational efficiency. Members will vote on the proposed changes at the October, 2017 Annual General Meeting.
We are honoured to have had the Right Honourable David Johnston, as Honourary Patron of our Foundation since 2011. On behalf of our national Board of Directors, our sincerest thanks to the Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and her staff at Exchanges Canada, as well as The Honourable George J. Furey of the Senate and the Honourable Geoff Regan, P.C., M.P., Speaker of the House of Commons. We thank them all for their support and dedication to Canada’s youth.
Our many achievements would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our Board of Directors, Foundation staff, and numerous supporters. Equally vital are the young Canadians who inspire us to strive to improve our programs as we continue to strengthen the Foundation.
Justine Hendricks, Chair