On May 24th 2013 16 young leaders from the Youth Policy Advisory and Advocacy Group (YPAAG) spent three days at the Bark Lake Leadership Retreat Centre. This years group welcomed many new members while were happy to see familiar leaders as well. They spent three days building on teamwork skills through low ropes course challenges, tandem canoes, high ropes, and many other team building activities such as an amazing race! YPAAG continues to be a leader and go-to voice for many standing commissions. They meet with decision makers, influence legislation, and act as the unifying voice for youth in care in Ontario.
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“Thanks to all whom attended this years awesome retreat! I have met great friends, have great memories and a larger support system not only to help me but also for me to help guide if someone needs to talk! This event helped shaped me more into the leader I see myself becoming ” -by: YPAAG Youth”
“From North, East, South and West,
We come together, to learn our best,
We may be new, different, divided,
… But through advocacy and teamwork we are UNITED
Youth Policy Advocacy & Advisory Group, you were definitely invited
We come together and in the end we’re YPAAG UNITED” -by: YPAAG Youth
Tale of a Youth in Care – Mandy Richards at TEDx Youth in Sudbury
Mandy Richard is a 22 year old youth from the Wikwemikong Unceeded Reserve on Manitoulin Island, in Ontario Canada who currently lives in Toronto. She came into care when she was 9 years old.
Mandy has been involved in the YouthCAN program since 2006, has been a strong leader with the Youth Policy Advisory and Advocacy Group, played an integral role at the Youth Leaving Care Hearings and most recently completed an internship at OACAS in Communications. Last week, Mandy graduated from the Journalism program at Canadore College in North Bay.
Click here to watch Mandy’s presentation at the TEDx event in Sudbury in May 2013.
Bark Lake Leadership Retreat
On September 7th-9th 2012, YPAAG (Youth Policy Advisory and Advocacy Group) members spent 3 days together at the relaxing and beautiful Bark Lake Leadership Retreat. This year YPAAG welcomed several new members to the team! Members developed new friendships while demonstrating their leadership qualities through various team building activities such as icebreakers, challenging high rope courses, tandem canoeing, and campfires. YPAAG has been a leader in moving forward youth advocacy issues over the past six years.
2012 Strengthening Family-Based Care.
Response to the request for advice on strengthening family-based care from the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare. On February 11, 2012, 15 members of YPAAG met in Toronto. Part of the group’s time was spent on developing responses to the questions asked by the Commission. As a large group, the documents from the Commission were reviewed and the questions were discussed overall. The group then broke into four smaller groups and worked on the individual “requests”. In each group there was a recorder, a presenter and report assistant (provide input for final write up). Afterwards, the group came back as a whole again. The sub groups presented what they had worked on and the large group was offered time to provide feedback and make additions. As a take-away, the report assistants were asked to provide a summary of their groups’ work which also was to include the additional input from the larger group. The YouthCAN Program Coordinator then completed the final write up based on the report assistants’ summaries and provided the document to YPAAG members. Click here for download.
2011 Letter of thanks from the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare to YPAAG for their recommendations related to issues faced by youth aging out of care. Click here to download.
2010 Child and Family Services Act Review.
The Youth Policy Advisory and Advocacy Group welcome the mandated 2010 review of the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA). This process allows for valuable input from youth in care in Ontario and the opportunity for positive changes to be made to the Act. YPAAG believes that there are legislative changes needed that would enable more youth growing up in Ontario’s child welfare system to experience success as adults. Click here to download.