Professional Development Conference:

Learning by Adventure

June 9 – 11th, 2023

Join Canada’s educators and youth leaders in Toronto at the BMO IFL Center from June 9-11th, 2023 for an exciting and educational weekend like no other. The conference will feature sessions on planning and execution of an exchange-travel tips, insurance Q&A’s, fundraising and much more. 


An exciting & educational weekend in Toronto!

June 9 – 11th, 2023

Sessions will focus on the day-to-day operations of a youth exchange, sharing best practices, mental health and wellness, diversity, inclusion and allyship as well as a panel discussion with other youth-serving organizations. 


  • Keynote speaker: Ilona Dougherty (Co-creator and managing director of the Youth & Innovation Project)
  • LivingWorks safeTALK Certification 
  • Youth development workshops
  • Exchanges 101 – Everything you need to know about youth exchanges
  • How to advocate for marginalized youth and support them while on exchange

Network among guests and find your next twin! Plus, be pre-approved for a (funded) exchange next school year. 

Spend a relaxing spring weekend in Toronto at the BMO IFL Centre! With luxurious guest rooms, incredible food options, and other amenities such as:

  • Whirlpool hot tub

  • Indoor pool

  • Fitness center 






Key Note Speaker: Ilona Dougherty


Ilona is the co-creator and managing director of the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo. She is an award winning social innovator and a regular voice in the Canadian media advising business, civil society and government on how they can tap into the value and unique abilities of young people. She has extensive leadership and governance experience having co-founded several successful organizations. 


Know More

Discussion and Workshops

Ice Breaker Activity: Chocolate Sculpture Challenge!

Looking for a little friendly competition? Get ready for Succulent Chocolates chocolate sculpting challenge! Teams will have 30 minutes to execute a tall freestanding chocolate sculpture. The winning team wins a surprise chocolate package!

Exchange Best Practices

Presented by: Experiences Canada & Kathy Chemlyk


We’ll go over everything you need to know about youth exchanges from application to post-travel, answering any questions you might have. We’ll provide best practices from our 85+ years of travelling youth across Canada. Experiences Group Organiser Kathy Chemlyk will discuss the benefits of travelling and proven ways to convince your administrators that it is a valuable program.

The Canadian Gap Year Story

Presented by: Michelle Dittmer, President & Co-founder, Canadian Gap Year Association


Gap Years support experiential learners, those with mental health challenges, financial need, and those who aren’t sure what careers they are interested in. Come learn about the realities of Gap Years in Canada from Canada’s leading expert.


Presented by: Stephanie MacKay


While we cover all travel costs on an exchange, there are other costs that should be taken into consideration depending on your destination (eg entry fees etc). Experienced Group Organiser Stephanie MacKay will share her experience with fundraising including proven examples and timelines for success. 

Travelling with Youth with Disabilities

Presented by: Eric Angen, Retired Elementary Classroom Teacher (Special Ed.)


Eric Angen will detail what he has learned about travelling with students and working with their parents and will address some of the practical considerations that he has learned over the years. 

Online Learning Resources

Presented by: Experiences Canada


Experiences Canada is committed to supporting teachers on exchange and in the classroom. We have created a series of curriculum-based online resources covering various topics including Career Choices, Reconciliation, Allyship, anti-racism and more. We’ll share teaching guides, lesson plans and webinars for asynchronous learning. 

Positive Youth Development

Presented by: YMCA of Greater Toronto

At the YMCA of Greater Toronto, our staff employ a Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework when working with young people. This workshop is an introduction to what PYD looks like in the programs across our association, and more specifically how our programs utilize principles of Autonomy, Relatedness, & Competence as well as the 10 Features of Program Design in our youth program development and planning. We will also be sharing a tool that links Exchanges activities to these 10 Features of Program Design.

LivingWorks safeTALK

Prior Registration Required – Presented by: Living Works


Participants learn how to recognize and engage a person who might be having thoughts of suicide, to confirm if thoughts of suicide are present and to move quickly to connect the person with helpers who know how to complete the helping process.

Tips for Group Travel

Presented by: Uniglobe travel


Uniglobe will speak on all aspects of booking travel, including documentation, travel insurance, name changes, airline policies and also share some tips and tricks to make the travel experience the safest and most efficient.  They will cover what is required of travel group organizers before travel, and how Uniglobe helps with every step of the process. 

Schedule, Information Sheet & Brochure

Ask Jamie a Question



Send me updates / Envoyez-moi des mises à jour


Send me updates / Envoyez-moi des mises à jour

Sign Up to our Newsletter /
Abonnez-vous à notre Lettre D'information




Sign Up to our Newsletter /
Abonnez-vous à notre Lettre D'information