Canada’s Best Youth Program celebrates another successful year

Image: Taken in Winnipeg’s Hell’s Alley site of the final clash between protestors and the RCMP during the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.

L-R (Bottom): Bill Fowlie (Local 1000A), Jason Allan-Kowal (Local 1518), Evan Engering (Local 1000A), Chloe Carpenter (Local 401), Geoff Bergen (Local 832), Enver Harbans (National Office), Carmen Olson (Local 1518);L-R (Top): Gabe Bako (Local 832), Ashley Morello (Local 832), Eleise Chapdelaine (Local 401)

Winnipeg – December 11, 2012 – The 2012 Phase Two of the Youth Internship Program (YIP) recently concluded in Winnipeg, Manitoba. YIP is UFCW Canada's well program for developing youth leadership and empowering young member activists in their union and communities.

The Winnipeg portion of the YIP Phase Two program focused on developing three cores areas of the young membership’s skill sets: building a social media presence; connecting with community organizations; and planning an effective event. The nine young activists represented UFCW Canada Local Unions from across the country, and they focused their energies on helping to build the Organization United for Respect (OUR) campaign. The initiative is modeled after the OUR Wal-Mart campaign which has had huge successes in winning over the hearts and imagination of thousands of retail employees in the United States.

For two weeks the young activists integrated themselves into the Winnipeg community, sharing the message of United For Respect And A Better Future. They participated in a very successful social media effort, and stayed active on blog spots attracting thousands of views in just one week. The YIPster committee culminated their activities with a successful event that involved front-line workers, community leaders and Local Unions activists coming together to share ideas and to further build a united movement for fairness at work and beyond.

Reflecting on her two-week experience working with her fellow young activists, Sister Carmen Olson of UFCW Canada Local 1518 stated, "I know the power and importance of standing together to accomplish positive change. I am sure there will be lots of situations where I can utilize my new skills, get people involved and show them how. I can’t wait to share the knowledge and experiences acquired during both phases of YIP.”

“A huge thank you to all the Local Unions for their continued support of YIP and the young activists," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. "As we continue to build on our projects to provide education and mentorship to UFCW Canada youth members, the relevance and strength of our great union grows along with them!”