The first-ever Y Nexus conference took place in BC over four days in January. Organized by Lindsay Martin, Jonah Erickson, and Jeremy Favel of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver to address a need for inclusion-based programming, Y Nexus brought together 15 Indigenous and non-Indigenous young leaders to explore themes related to reconciliation and awareness.
The conference was guided by a range of leaders, with resident elder Debra Trask of the West Moberly First Nations helping to ensure a safe space for all. The highlight for most participants was the experiential dialogues, when each person was given time to facilitate a workshop or lead a discussion on a topic of choice. This allowed for the deep exploration of issues and the identification of ways to create a more inclusive community and act toward reconciliation.
Following the conference, the YMCA of Greater Vancouver hosted a community event in partnership with Reconciliation Canada, which was attended by 70 YMCA staff and community members, including Hereditary Chief Janice George from the Squamish Nation.
Y Nexus participants had the opportunity to share their learnings, which included a recognition of the many individual definitions of reconciliation, as well as an overall sense of optimism about the future. Said one participant, “I see a clear path forward and am able to identify actions I can take toward reconciliation.”