My name is Bryanna Lavictoire, and I am an alumnus of the Youth Ambassadors Program with Canada. This program promotes mutual understanding, increases leadership skills, and positions youth to make a difference in their communities. I was taught by passionate and dedicated keynote speakers, alumni, mentors, and all who worked closely with the program. I found out about this program from our school’s guidance counsellor, who had recommended it to me. For the application process I was required to answer questions in paragraph format and supply 3 references. In addition, as the program included travel outside of Canada, I had to get a passport and prepare for my first trip outside of the country.
The entire trip was empowering and gave me a great sense of how politics, leadership, and community service not only work, but also affect our everyday lives. It’s amazing to be surrounded by so many people capable of such greatness, and I feel it motivated me much more than words can explain. During the program I worked on my community service, which included a proposition for a youth adviser position at our local youth center. It was a lot of work getting the process started with my mentor, but many business letters later I was offered an interview upon my arrival home. The hard work and preparation paid off as I was offered the position, and am now a direct connection to the youth in our community.
My homestay experience was more than I could have ever hoped for. I stayed with 2 other participants in our program with our hostess, an active member of the Plattsburgh community in New York State. She offered advice, wonderful meals, long walks, and many intelligent discussions about American politics. Getting a perspective on America through a citizen provided knowledge no textbook could offer, and in my opinion that was the most interesting component of the homestay. After American politics started to consume Canada’s news outlets, it made me only more curious. Now that I fully understand elements of daily life, currency, and general well being, my personal interest in the United States made this learning experience unbelievably valuable.
Having the honour of being 1 of 16 adolescents in Canada chosen for this amazing opportunity is quite humbling. Most cannot say they have traveled to the Capitol, Virginia, Plattsburgh NY and the Canadian Embassy all in one trip with 15 of their best friends. We were lucky to have worked so closely with the staff at the center of study for Canada, and to have our homestay coordinator and mentors truly make this experience memorable. I look forward to what opportunities the program holds for me in the future, and am thrilled to be able to share my stories and experiences with others! Thank you so much to the Youth Ambassadors Program for one of the best summers of my life.