REACH Edmonton

More than 400 people attended the Allies 4 Youth Conference (A4YC) at the River Cree Conference Centre May 14-15, 2018, marking the third time the biennial conference has been held in Edmonton.


In 2018, the A4YC conference steering committee worked to create a new partnership with Enoch Cree Nation.


“Enoch Cree Nation puts emphasis on the importance of building partnerships with our neighbouring organizations, professionals, and communities,” said Scarlett Papin, Child and Youth Advocate and Band Designate for Enoch Cree Nation. “This partnership has allowed more opportunities for growth for our nation as a whole. The participants who attended this conference had the opportunity to learn about and experience some of our Cree culture.”


The conference, which is held every second year, will be held at the River Cree Conference Centre again in 2020, as a result of this new partnership.


“I am excited to see this relationship grow in the next couple of years,” said Papin.


The conference brought together service providers, researchers, experts, and youth to focus on the growing population of young people with increasingly complex needs.

This conference specifically focused on youth homelessness, aboriginal youth and social justice, ethnocultural youth and trauma, and the voice of youth, keeping in mind that all youth deserve the opportunity to live their lives in a meaningful way, to feel safe, and to experience a sense of inclusion and belonging.

This work with youth incorporates the most recent research, literature and trends in areas such as trauma, attachment and brain development in children and youth, harm reduction, resilience, strength-based practice, collaborative, multi-disciplinary practice, and trauma-informed intervention.

"This conference specifically focused on trauma, attachment and brain development, and explore challenges that youth experiencing high risk circumstances face related to education and employment, diversity and identity, and addictions and mental health," said Rebecca Stiller, co-chair of the A4YC steering committee.

Previously, the conference had been titled the High Risk Youth Conference (HYRC). The intention of the name change is a shift away from the labelling of the term High-risk youth. While HRYC is well known and a descriptive name that references not only a specific event, but also a specific practice framework and philosophy with a sub-group of youth, it does not justify using a negative label that can follow youth into adulthood, and as parents. The A4YC Steering Committee feels that convenience to us as service providers does not justify a label that can have a negative impact on youth.

For more information about A4YC, click here.