Rotarian Randy Coker introduced Dr. Andrew Janikowski, a resident of Prince Edward County and a long time family doctor in Picton until his retirement two years ago.  Dr. Janikowski worked as a general practitioner, a family doctor, anaesthetist, emergency room doctor as well as being one of the county coroners for over 36 years.  He still holds a Nunavut licence and helps cover the needs of the Inuit communities both by telephone consultation and by regular visits to the north.  He has been a Rotarian since 1988 with involvement in youth exchange initiatives both at the local and at the district level.  When the youth exchange was cancelled in Picton after many decades of involvement, Dr. Andy decided to see what could be done to continue a youth exchange opportunity for county students.  From this, the idea grew to become the Youth to Youth program.
Honouring Indigenous Peoples has launched a new opportunity for youth in our District 7070 and District 7010, the Indigenous communities within the Williams Treaty area called the Williams Treaty Youth-to-Youth Engagement Circle on October 8 - 10, 2021.  This learning experience will involve Indigenous and Non-Indigenous youth in grades 9 to 11.  This event has been developed by HIP (Honouring Indigenous Peoples) and co-created by a strong list of stakeholders including Indigenous Elders, Teachers, Education Counsellors, Knowledge Keepers, Rotarians and other ethical leaders.  The engagement circle will focus on peace and reconciliation while inspiring youth to work together and take action towards becoming good stewards of the land.
The students must be nominated by a local Indigenous Community, Organization or Rotary Club to be considered.  All youth nominated should have demonstrated leadership potential within their communities.  The 3 day curriculum will focus on relationship building among the 50 youth (25 Indigenous and 25 Non-Indigenous), an opportunity for youth to learn about Indigenous heritage, culture and about treaty relationships, providing youth with a hands-on understanding of nature and what it means to be a good steward of the land.  Rotary Clubs are being asked to support the program with a donation and to nominate and support a student to attend.  We are looking at students to become ambassadors and share their experiences about the event and what they learned.  By delivering presentations, the youth develop leadership skills and an opportunity to network and connect.
The Youth to Youth engagement event will bring together a balanced group of rural and urban non-indigenous and indigenous students at Camp Kawartha in Peterborough for relationship building activities focused on land-based education.  This will provide an opportunity for these youth to build friendships with like-minded youth and inspire them to take action towards creating sustainable environmental change.  The event will cost over $1,000 per youth and HIP is looking to Rotary Clubs, Indigenous Communities and other organizations to help cover expenses by making a $750 donation per youth sponsored.  The long term goal is to host 40 more Youth to Youth engagement circles across Canada by 2024.  John Currie, HIP Executive Director states "we have arrived at a critical point in our history that requires us to work together as responsible partners for the ongoing stewardship of the lands on which we learn, share and live".  Dr. Janikowski said miigwech (thank you).  More information is available from the HIP website
President Elect Cory MacKay thanked Dr. Janikowski for providing this information and taking steps to build on the Youth Exchange Program.  Our youth are our future and it is vitally important for us to educate and empower them.