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National Association of Friendship Centres

The National Association of Friendship Centres represents 119 Friendship Centres across Canada. In many cities, Friendship Centres are the only providers of culturally-enhanced programs and services to urban Aboriginal residents. For more than half a century, Friendship Centres have been facilitating the transition of Aboriginal people from rural, remote and reserve life to an urban environment.

For many Aboriginal peoples, Friendship Centres are their first point of contact to obtain referrals to programs and services. Approximately 2,292,081 total points of contact were made at Friendship Centres in 2010-2011. The Aboriginal population is the fastest growing segment of the Canadian urban population and Friendship Centres continue to be vital pillars in the infrastructure of urban Aboriginal society.

Annual General Meeting

This year, the National Association of Friendship Centres held their annual general meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon. Although Whitehorse is quite the distance to travel for most Canadian Friendship Centres, there was still a good turnout with nearly 400 attendees. The 23rd Annual National Youth Forum which goes alongside the AGM, was a success with many beneficial workshops put on for the youth that attended. After the business was done, the youth participated in a cultural night, an annual volleyball tournament, and many other local attractions. This is a great opportunity to get the youth involved, empowered in the Friendship Centre Movement, and to network with other likeminded individuals.

The meetings went smoothly with the announcement of the Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth (CCAY) being reinstated with new terms and conditions. Read more here> This announcement is very exciting and the AFCS is eager to work with the program again.

Nelson Mayer Youth Recognition Award

The Youth Recognition Award was created three years ago and was created because the National Aboriginal Youth Council felt that it was important to recognize the hard work and dedication of the youth in the movement. The AYC has renamed it the Nelson Mayer Youth Recognition Award this year for all of the support that the youth in this movement has received from Nelson over the years.

Unfortunately, due to funding constraints, the AYC was unable to give out an award since its creation. However, the award was restructured and the AYC gave the award at this year’s AGM for the first time to one 'outstanding' youth. The first ever recipient of the Nelson Mayer award went to Tyler Sayese of the Prince Albert Indian and Metis Friendship Centre. We are very honoured to have one of our Saskatchewan youth receive this award.

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