Highlights from the Community Action Project (CAPs) National Training 2018

7 janvier, 2019

About the Community Action Project National Training

Equitas’ Community Action Project(CAPs) National Training brought together 26 participants from 9 organizations representing 6 provinces across Canada: Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. Taking part in the National Training was a mix of Youth Changemakers and Youth workers. The training aimed to better equip the participants to collaborate among participating organizations, to build a national Speaking Rights movement, use Community Action Project (CAPs) as a tool for addressing identified youth issues, engage with influencers (decision-makers and allies) for increased impact, support youth engagement and participation as they move forward in their Community Action Project.

Four themes were explored by our participants: (1) The change we want to see; (2) Youth-led social change; (3) Engaging with influencers; and (4) Planning for action using a participatory approach. Through the Speaking Rights workshops, the participants had the opportunity to build life skills such as team collaboration through group activities and critical thinking with group reflection and discussion.

1. The change we want to see

The participants were asked to reflect on the resources in their community. During a mapping activity, they identified their community assets, priorities, and issues. This activity led the discussion on how to target community issues. The groups agreed that education was an essential tool in addressing community issues as well as creating safe spaces to encourage acceptance and communication among community members. The group also learned about rights and responsibilities. In small groups, they debated the importance of learning about your rights and if there was a priority between rights. The participants concluded that although some rights are necessary for our survival, the priority of rights differs according to the situation of each individual. After the group had identified the issues in their community and learned about rights and responsibilities, the participants gathered in small groups to reflect on how to challenge these specific topics: the intersection of safety, racism and stereotypes, mental health, inclusion and isolation, and diverse youth participation

"I learned a lot and I love to see the passion of the other participant and hear about their work and take all that in.” CAPs National Training Participant, Montreal, QC

2. Youth-led social change

Leading action is a concrete solution to address a community issue. Therefore, the participants engaged in a brainstorming activity to come up with ideas of Community Action Projects (CAPs). This creative activity challenges the participants to combine talents and issues to create a CAP idea. During this workshop, many original ideas were named. It motivated the participants to recreate this activity with their youth to find ideas for their Community Action Project (CAPs). The group agreed that encouraging talents was a positive way to build the youth capacity and to put words to action. Leading a Community Action Project is one way to create social change, as well as using Speakingrights.ca as a tool for online engagement. This platform is a channel for partners to share their success and to engage other Youth Changemakers or influencers in addressing community issues.

3. Engaging with influencers

Engaging influencers can sometimes be a challenge in leading a Community Action Project (CAPs). In order to gain tactics and advice, three panelists were invited to share their knowledge on how to engage influencers in a community project. Aurore Iradukunda from Apathy is boring emphasized the importance of putting youth at the center of change in order to empower them. Camille Larrivée from Unseeded Voices is a street artist that focuses on creating safe space for street art expression while giving a voice to youth from various identities. Shanice Nicole works for McGill Equity and Diversity. She is also a Black Lives Matter activist, an educator and a spoken word artist who focus on anti-oppression and anti-racism. During an open-ended question period, the panelist shared their experiences with youth-led projects and the tactics they used to engage influencers in their actions.

“From now on, I will focus on the word Youth led, it has been a good reminder that we need to give youth more voice.”- CAPs National Training Participant, Montreal, QC

4. Planning for action

Over the course of the two days, the participants learned tools and practices to engage youth in leading social change. While planning for action, understanding the roles and responsibilities of each participant is important. Both the Youth worker and the Youth Changemakers have an important role to play in the Community Action Project (CAPs). In a small group activity, the participants reflected on these roles. Each group presented their ideas in a creative presentation. Overall the participants agreed that the roles and responsibilities of the Youth Changemakers and the Youth workers are complementary. They are both working towards the same goal.

Next steps

Going forward, the Youth Changemakers and the Youth workers will take on the task of leading Community Action Projects (CAPs) in their communities. By the end of the National CAPs Training, 76% of the participants strongly agreed that they are now able to use the Community Action Project (CAPs) model as a tool for addressing issues identified by youth. In fact, 100% of the participants feel ready to implement the 5 step Community Action Project (CAPs) process.

The Equitas team is always available to support our partners. If you have any inquiries please contact your CAPs coach or Ruth Morrison, Program Officer at rmorrison@equitas.org or 514-954-0382 ext. 243.