This year was saw AYO turn 1 year old! It saw many of our ideas come into their own, as stand alone initiatives, and the support we have felt from our North End and Winnipeg community has been immense. As is customary for many folks, at the end of a year I like to take a look back and remind myself of what has happened, what has been achieved, what has been learned in the last 12 months. Find below a short summary of the Top 10 AYO Moments of 2011, according to organizer North End MC:
- AYO Leadership Meets @ Flipside: The Leadership Team began its inaugural series of meetings to guide the AYO ship. We were able to launch our youtube page and set a clear path for the summer of beefing up some of our ideas. 10 young people came out to get this ish started!
- AYO does CBC: our Leadership Team (and our cuzzin Johnny) made CBC history in 2011 with CBC Manitoba’s first ever Tweet-Up. This marriage of social media and radio, live on Up To Speed With Larry Updike allowed Manitobans to pose no holds barred questions to real live aboriginal youth. It was epic.
- Get Real Youth Forums (PolitiX): For the May Federal and October provincial elections, our PolitiX initiative was able to organize 2 GET REAL Youth Forums. These allowed young North Enders to pose questions to candidates, and have them answer simply YES/NO as their answer. In addition we were able to create a pre-forum event called GET INFORMED where youth can brainstorm, be educated on issues, and research the political candidates. Shout out to Kevin Chief and Kevin Lameroux on your wins!
- Selkirk Avenue Banners (Creative Expressions): Thanks to the leadership of Kale Bonham and partnerships coming out of the woodwork, new Banners are about to be installed on Selkirk Avenue from Main Street to Arlington. We began at Children of the Earth, moved to Ralph Brown Community Centre, engaging NECRC, Selkirk Avenue BIZ, the City of Winnipeg and of course North End youth. The result, as you can see HERE is gonna be slammin!
- ARROWS presents … everywhere: This was the year that AYO’s ARROWS took flight. We have been able to partner with several organizations to deliver training sessions to youth workers and youth leaders. We have been able to redevelop our ARROWS Presentation and train additional facilitators. This next year will see us take our youth engagement training as far west as Calgary!
- Feasting Our Hand Drum Part 2 (Healing Still Continues): For our 2nd annual Hand Drum Feasting event we partnered with Circle of Life Thunderbird House and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Youth Secretariat. With AMC Youth’s financial contribution. Thunderbird’s use of space, and Ninoondawah’s organizational skills and leadership, our 2nd annual Feasting event went off amazingly. Can’t wait til our 3rd Annual!!
- Initiating The FWD: North End Youth Newspaper: this began in the summer and has really taken off. Don't forget to check out movethenorthendfwd.wordpress.com for up to the minute info!
- Painting Cabin’s with United Way’s Youth Relations Council: for an alternative spring break activity we painted cabins with the United Way of Winnipeg's Youth Relations Council. It was an excellent beginning to a long and helpful relationship!
- AYO turns 1 at the BBB: this was an amazing time to celebrate all we had accomplished in our first year of being around. So proud to put together displays and celebrate with friends/family.
- Meet Me @ The Bell Tower: Our signature, most impactful initiative to date, has been our MM@BT rallies. Beginning again on January 6th in 2012, we will Stop The Violence in our hood.
Its amazing to think that in one year, with no staff, no building, no formal funding…we have been able to achieve this. Its hip hop genius. Its innovation. Its creativity. This, is leadership, north end style. AYO! came into existence because youth in our community needed a vehicle of their own to drive…where they could share their ideas and nurture them into existence. Looking back at what has been accomplished in 2011, I realize my dreams have come true with AYO.
But does that mean we slow down? Never! 2012 is looking to be our greatest event yet. With members of our leadership team in the finals for the Future Leaders of Manitoba Award, with ARROWS presentations being booked across the prairies, with members of our group liaising with the United Nations, we are going to make it big. We invite all Aboriginal youth, all North Enders all human beings!!! Join us in the momentum that has swept our community. Bring you friends and stand up.
2012 is the year the North End Rises. I know it.
PS – don’t forget to heck out northendmc.wordpress.com for MC’s latest post on his 2011 Lessons from the Streetz.