Former NB Premier Brian Gallant shares his perspective
CHARLOTTETOWN – Nov. 15, 2019 – The third weekend camp of the youth leadership program “Faut que ça grouille!”, held Nov. 9-10 in Charlottetown, greatly reinforced the principle that volunteering is extremely important, not only for the organizations and activities that benefit from it, but also for the personal and even professional development of the volunteers themselves.
The 25 program participants, aged 15-30 years, heard a speaker and several key people from the community talk about what they had gained by volunteering. They shared that the valuable experience and knowledge they gained sometimes led to prestigious jobs and memorable adventures. By volunteering, these people also established essential contacts that provided them with a great deal of support in their life and career paths.
The weekend’s keynote speaker, Brian Gallant, a lawyer and former premier of New Brunswick, was extremely passionate about the subject. He began by recounting his humble beginnings, explaining how, as a teenager, he had set the goal of reaching the political pinnacle of his province. He then spoke of his many volunteer involvements in his school, university and community that contributed to his election to the provincial legislature at the age of 24 and to the position of premier at the age of 32.
In his very practical conference, entitled « Engaged Citizens: Positive leadership », Gallant also stressed the importance of balancing one’s personal and professional life and finding one’ true purpose.
WORLD CAFÉ AND SHARING
The participants were then able to meet four special guests during a « World Café » that gave the youth an opportunity to move from one table to another for small group discussions. Guests at these four stations – Brian Gallant, Giselle Bernard, community development officer with the province, Jeanne Gallant, president of the Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival, and Mélissa MacDonald, executive director of the Comité acadien et francophone de l’Est – were able to share their experiences and suggestions and answer questions from the youth.
As a next activity, four panelists were invited to comment on the issue of community volunteering. MacDonald and Bernard, as well as Ricky Hitchcock, who was the volunteer recruiter for the 2019 Congrès mondial acadien, and Isabelle Dasylva-Gill, executive director of La Société Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin, all spoke of the urgent need for community volunteer succession and the increased integration of young volunteers into organizations to help at all levels, including internal management and event planning.
Three of the program participants – Adrien Buote, Sylvain Duguay and Brittany Arsenault – then shared their own volunteer experiences, confirming how they had benefited from this work. Since they had volunteered in their own community during their youth, one of them was able to join the board of directors of his university’s student federation, another became the Island’s assistant chef de mission for the Jeux de la francophonie canadienne and one turned her passion for volunteering into an entrepreneurial project.
Sarah Gallant also spoke to the youth about the Rising Youth program, which provides community service grants for youth projects. Some of the “Faut que ça grouille!” participants have already received contributions from this program; some of the new projects currently being planned by the participants may qualify.
Armed with all these motivational speeches and encouragements, the participants then set to work to develop their own community project, which they are expected to implement in the coming months. Some of the young people, seeing similarities between their own ideas and the proposals of others, naturally allied themselves, especially when they came from the same region.
According to coordinator Gilles Arsenault, the program seems to have gained a very good momentum during this third camp. « We have a group of young people who are very committed and who really want to make a difference in their communities. We look forward to seeing their projects once they are underway.”
Some of the sectors their projects will address include mental health, healthy eating, physical activity promotion, identity building and support for families in need.
The next camp will be held in January in Summerside. Project planning, including the financial perspective, will be discussed. Financial specialist Ron Robichaud will be one of the guest speakers.
“Faut que ça grouille!” is a citizen engagement initiative led by RDÉE Prince Edward Island and funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, through its Canada Service Corps program.
PHOTO 1: Guest speaker Brian Gallant, second from the left, impressed the participants of the “Faut que ça grouille!” program Nov. 9 when he told them how his volunteer experiences helped him to become premier of New Brunswick at the age of 33. He is seen with three of the program participants, from left, Dakota Cameron, Adrien Buote and Robyn Gallant.
PHOTO 2: Sylvain Gagné and Dakota Cameron hard at work.
PHOTO 3: Natalie Gallant hard at work.
For further details:
“Faut que ça grouille!” program