The Alberta Aboriginal Youth Council (AAYC)
The ANFCA’s Provincial Youth Council, The Alberta Aboriginal Youth Council (AAYC), was established in 1996 with the intent to increase urban Indigenous youth participation in culture and training. Today the well developed youth council has emerged as a proud group of youth from across the province of Alberta with a vision for themselves, their communities and the future. Building on a strong foundation of Friendship Centre history, the AAYC is structured in a Board of Directors format that allows and encourages skill development and understanding of community involvement and community building.
Throughout Alberta many Indigenous youth councils operate within Friendship Centres and act as critical elements of steering committees designed to oversee and ensure youth involvement in youth programming. It is from these community-based youth councils that representatives are appointed to attend the provincial youth council. One youth representative from AAYC is appointed to the national youth council (AYC) to represent issues that are relevant to Alberta’s Indigenous youth. Building on their own young history, founding and early AAYC members have moved on making room for new members. Past members cite their involvement in Friendship Centres and the AAYC as a turning point for their current life successes.
This impressive group of young people range in age from 14-25 and are representative of an array of Indigenous cultures found in Alberta. Métis, Dene, Cree, Blackfoot, and Chipewyan youth join together to identify current issues, explore innovative solutions, advance personal skill development, access training and partake in cultural events and activities. The AAYC has participated in youth and Elder cultural retreats, province-wide youth programming, and is currently involved in multi-media training that will result in a youth driven, video series designed to address family violence and bullying.
This energetic group is steeped in strength, vision and respect. Annually representatives from the AAYC join together to review and evaluate proposals from across Alberta for youth program funding under the federally funded UMAYC initiative. Their direct involvement in this process is empowering, skill developing and instills a sense of ownership for solutions and actions required to overcome social issues faced in every community.