Helping guide our future leaders at the Forum for Young Canadians

In late March, I had the special opportunity to volunteer as a Group Leader at this year’s Forum for Young Canadians. Every year, during three week-long sessions in February and March, high school students from across Canada descend on the nation’s capital to learn more about Canadian politics. While in Ottawa they get to tour Parliament, have breakfast with Senators, dine with MPs at the Chateau Laurier, meet the Speaker of the House of Commons, and participate in simulations where they elect a Prime Minister. It gives the students a unique opportunity to connect with other like-minded students from coast to coast to coast. They get a real behind-the-scenes look at how Ottawa works.

As a Group Leader, I spent a week with some of Canada’s best and brightest high school students; our future leaders. My role was to facilitate the students’ learning and to share with them some of my experiences as a federal public servant.

A big part of my job as a communications duty officer here at Public Safety involves monitoring the media, flagging items of interest to senior managers and conducting media analyses. Volunteering with Forum was a great experience because it gave me exposure to some of the newsmakers I often see while monitoring programs like CBC’s Power & Politics or CTV’s Power Play. It also really helped to develop my leadership skills and connect with Group Leaders from other departments. This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the support and encouragement of my manager, director and director general.

The days were extremely long, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to connect with so many amazing people and share some incredible experiences.

Throughout my orientation session I repeatedly heard Forum’s staff and returning Group Leaders talk about Forum Magic. It’s a concept I didn’t immediately grasp, but slowly over the course of the week, interacting with all of the people that makes the week such a huge success, I learned exactly what it meant. I could try to describe it, but I wouldn’t be doing it any justice; it’s really something you need to see for yourself!

If you think you’d be interested in getting involved in next year’s edition of Forum, I encourage you to check-out Forum’s website for updates. Any federal public servant can volunteer. The Group Leader volunteer application deadline is usually in mid-to-late October.

Adam, Group Leader during the 2015 sessions of Forum

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