It’s in a spirit of unity that French representatives from six different Canadian communities returned from a trip to France, on February 2nd, as part of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie’s (RVF) "Pairing Francophone Communities" mission. In addition to returning home with ideas for collaborative projects related to youth, members of the Canadian delegation were able to build strong ties amongst themselves, which bodes well for the country's Francophone pride.
Representatives from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Yukon, the cities of Windsor (Quebec), Val-d'Or (Quebec), Saint-Bruno Station (Quebec) and the region of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec) took off on January 30th to explore the city of Saint-Etienne, France.
This was the third time Canadian communities met through the RVF’s mission. This time, their objective was to strengthen their relations, draw on ideas from communities, businesses and organizations and proudly display the dynamism of Canadian Francophone communities.
Youth to the Forefront
"This year the communities choose the youth theme from different angles,” explains Michel-Olivier Matte, responsible for development and national coordination for the RVF. “We identified the town of Saint-Etienne, France, which showed dynamism and expertise in implementing youth related policies."
As a result, dozens of collaborative projects and exchanges of ideas and knowledge arose between Canadians and the French. For example, the trip provided the opportunity to reflect on a Destination’s Canada trip in Saint-Etienne, as well as greater participation of police educators in youth center activities.
Even though they were on the other side of the Atlantic, members of the different Canadian francophone communities took advantage of their time together to develop ideas for collaborative projects within the country. "The project's goal was also to bring communities across Canada to work together,” says Matte. “There are a number of ideas and expertise that may emerge, including Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean’s Strategy Migr'Action which might become reality in other parts of the country."
While discovering the reality of other Francophone countries, members of the Canadian delegation were able to learn and be inspired from what goes on elsewhere in the Francophonie. "The mission sparked everyone’s interest in discovering Francophone communities from all over,” concludes Matte.
Travel truly does broaden the mind!
The six Canadian delegations were composed of:Prince Edward Island : Brian Gallant, executive director of Jeunesse acadienne, and Anastasia Desroches, project coordinator of Société-Saint-Thomas-D’Aquin. Nova Scotia : Jean Léger, executive director of Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse, and Claudia Marchand, executive director of Conseil jeunesse provincial de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Yukon : Régis Saint-Pierre, co executive director of Association franco-yukonnaise, and Marielle Veilleux, administrator of the same organisation. Windsor (Québec) : Sylvie Bureau, mayor, and Gaétan Graveline, muicipal concilor and coordinator of Maison de jeunes du Val Saint-François. Val-d’Or (Québec) : Christian Riopel, deputy managing director of MRC de la Vallée-de-l’Or, and Melissa Drainville, agent of Conseil territorial jeunesse de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Hébertville-Station and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (Québec) : Jennifer Paré, project agent of Stratégie Migr’Action, and Prescyllia Thérriault, coordinator of Maison de jeunes d’Hébertville-Station.