Healthy Communities

From Toronto to Halifax with the Newcomer Youth Leadership Development program

02 August 2023 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto
The YMCA of Greater Toronto empowers youth and provides them with opportunities to explore new horizons. Recently, we organized an exciting youth exchange that brought together 15 newcomers from Toronto and 15 from Halifax. Toronto youth discovered a new province, formed new friendships, learned about different communities, and experienced YMCA Halifax. In return, they hosted their Halifax friends, showcasing their leadership skills and creating a fun-filled week of activities in Toronto.

Toronto and Halifax youths posing against the backdrop of Niagara Falls, wearing bright yellow rain ponchos.

Toronto youth were excellent tour guides of their city, showing their new friends the hot spots. They visited Kensington Market, the waterfront, the Royal Ontario Museum, Eaton Centre, Niagara Falls, and more. And since giving back to the community is an integral part of leadership development, the exchange program participants volunteered at the YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre, too.

The exchange program was not just about sightseeing and community service; it also allowed the youth to experience unique festivals and cultural attractions. For example, Toronto youth invited their Halifax pals to join them on Toronto’s “Walk with Amal,” a travelling festival that raises awareness and empathy for refugees. This event highlighted the importance of multiculturalism in Toronto, so local youth could speak about the Y’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and how their generation embraces these values.

Youth from Toronto and Halifax gather on a stoop with the CN Tower in the background.

From beginning to end, our youth exchange was full of discovery, making new friends, and leadership-building. Everyone created many long-lasting memories!

A big thank you to all the contributors who made this experience possible. Let’s continue to nurture a sense of community and inspire young leaders to make a difference in the world.

Visit the Youth Exchanges Canada (YEC) website to learn more about the program and to register for an exchange in Winter / Spring 2024.


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