YOUTH ADVISORY COMMITTEE (YAC)

Experiences Canada knows providing the best possible experience for young people is impossible without their input! The Experiences Canada Youth Advisory Committee, known as the “YAC”, is made up of youth from across Canada who provide us with their perspective on how we can improve our exchange programs and forums. The YAC helps to raise awareness for Experiences Canada and undertakes a variety of activities to help us offer a better experience for our participants!

Namirembe Afatsawo – President

The Pas, Manitoba

I am 16 years old and I am from The Pas, Manitoba. I enjoy traveling, music, fashion, politics, and discussing matters relating to equity and social justice. I believe the most valuable outcomes of an Experiences Canada exchange and forum are experiencing different cultures, seeing new places and making new friends! In January 2020, I had the opportunity to go on a language exchange to Quebec. While there, I strengthened my French skills by using it in various settings. Then, in May 2022, I participated in Experiences Canada’s youth forum on allyship. There, I had the opportunity to make a podcast on allyship and I got to meet many youth who enjoy discussing topics related to allyship as much as I do. I aspire to be a lawyer and work for the United Nations so that I can advocate for equity and social justice for all humankind.

Regan Sentner – Vice President

Elmvale, Prince Edward Island

My name is Regan Sentner, and I am from Prince Edward Island. I am currently in my first year of university, taking Kinesiology in university. I participated in an Experiences Canada exchange in 2019 to Airdrie, Alberta, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It was one of the first times that I had been able to travel within Canada and to be able to do that with a group of my peers was amazing. The exchange also provoked me to take a step outside of my comfort zone, as I had to live with a family of strangers in a new province for 7 days. I think that point right there is one of the most valuable outcomes of an exchange. It allows students to take that big step while still having the support of their chaperone, fellow students and everyone at Experiences Canada. Overall, I have no regrets about doing the exchange and I cannot wait to see where this new opportunity will take me.

Arabella Mew – Secretary

Vancouver, BC

My name is Arabella Mew and I live in Vancouver, BC. I am a student in Eric Hamber’s Challenge Studio program, an avid dancer, debater, swimmer and swim coach. I’ve always been passionate about advocating for educational and exciting opportunities for youth. I am currently a member of my school’s student council, the Vancouver District Student Council, and Youth Helping Youth BC. In seventh grade, I had the privilege to partake in an exchange to Quebec with Experience Canada. Spending two weeks on the other side of the country with another family made me realize that immersing yourself in the culture is the best way to learn. I believe that is the most valuable outcome of an Experience Canada exchange — building both awareness and an appreciation of different cultures. I am thrilled to help other young individuals share that positive experience as a member of the YAC.

LIAM YEADON

Yorkton, Saskatchewan

My family has four people, five if you count my dog! I have an older brother Andrew who studies Biology. My mom, Lisa, is a teacher and my dad, Ken, is a business manager. My dog, Bear, as in Teddy Bear, is a stay-at-home dog. I play and coach sledge hockey and take classes, teach and direct at Free My Muse Drama Studio. When it comes to winter activities, I like snowmobiling with friends and family. Snowmobiling is a great way to destress; when you are riding, everything falls away. When it comes to school, I am a science nerd. I love anything to do with science or math. I am part of the leadership team and will be Lumiere in our upcoming production of Beauty and the Beast. I have recently been accepted into the University of Saskatchewan for Fall 2023 and will be studying Biomedicine. I have been lucky enough to have been part of Experiences Canada since 2018. My first experience was an exchange with students in B.C. I have been part of the YAC for 4 years, and am very proud to have served the last 2 years as President.

Connor Deroche

Cornwall, Prince Edward Island

My name is Connor Deroche. I’m 18 years old and I am a Prince Edward Islander. Hockey has always been a big part of my life. I love to both play and watch games. I even got to see an NHL game on my Experiences Canada exchange. I believe that the most important outcome for an Experiences Canada exchange is meeting new people and being able to experience life in a different part of the country. My exchange showed me that life in Calgary is way busier and faster-paced than here in P.E.I. In the future, I would like to be a chemist and work here on the island if possible.

Lilia Hessabi

Vancouver, BC

Hi, my name is Lilia Hessabi, and I’m a grade 12 student from Vancouver, BC. In hopes of pursuing a career in law, I participated in the Experiences Canada’s “Allyship” forum, and it was truly such a priceless experience. Not only did I visit a new place and tour Winnipeg, but I made connections that will last a lifetime. I always knew Experiences Canada forums and exchanges were one of kind after participating in an exchange to Quebec City in grade 7, and the “Allyship” forum convinced me to undertake a leadership role within the council that is involved with the experiences I loved doing. I am excited to extend the lessons I have learned within leadership positions in my community into those that benefit people across the country.

Kevin Lee

Brandon, MB

Hi my name is Kevin Lee (Jevin) and I’m from beautiful Brandon Manitoba. I’m a high school student studying at VMHS go Vikings! If I’m not at school I enjoy doing some of my hobbies which include chess,music,video games and sports. In 2022, I attended my first Experiences Canada in-person forum where I learned about social justice in Canada and how to be an ally in my community. After that forum, I wanted to do more with Experiences Canada so I applied to join YAC.

Mehul Madhura

Markham, Ontario

I’m from Markham, Ontario and I’ve lived there my entire life. I think the most valuable outcome of Experiences Canada and the forum I attended was seeing all of the youth who contributed to the whole event. I learned so much from the guest speakers and learned about what I can do to enforce Truth and Reconciliation in my community. Personally, it has given me a new sense of purpose and a broader perspective in terms of what actually matters. It has also made me want to continue to be part of more activism as I get older.

Dominique Hunter

Vancouver, BC

I’m a grade 12 student from Vancouver, BC. In May 2022, I attended Experiences Canada’s Allyship forum. For me, the most valuable outcome of the forum was being able to meet and collaborate with other youths. It allowed me to make so many new friendships from all over the country. I also found that the forum really opened my eyes to the extent of certain issues, and it encouraged me to take initiative in my community. Next year, I hope to take either business or sociology at university.

Jill Dobbin

Kindersley, SK

I am from Kindersley, Saskatchewan and I was born in February of 2005. My family is all from Newfoundland, so we spend a lot of time there. I am the head coach for Kindersley Special Olympics Bowling and Track programs. I am very passionate about social justice. I attended the Experiences Canada Youth Allyship Forum in May of 2022. It was such an incredible experience. I met all kinds of really cool people from all across Canada, making some really close friends. My dream is to become a lawyer working in the social justice sector!

Jessica Krukoski

Toronto, Ontario

Hello! My name is Jessica, and I am from Toronto, Ontario. I got the opportunity to attend the Youth Allyship Forum in May 2022, an event I cherish immensely. From learning about different cultures to co-creating a podcast episode with my group, I got the chance to practice my leadership skills and learn about how change starts and expands. This experience was valuable because it prioritized youth leadership and exploration, something I’ve found I have not had many chances to do. I have made several amazing friends and connections at the forum, and it was a life-changing milestone for me. Some of my interests include biking, graphic design, and crocheting.

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