Young leading the young

More than 100 youth from Atlin to Inuvik are expected to be in Whitehorse this weekend for the 11th annual conference organized by Bringing Youth…

More than 100 youth from Atlin to Inuvik are expected to be in Whitehorse this weekend for the 11th annual conference organized by Bringing Youth Towards Equality.

Chief among the meeting’s attractions will be a battle of the bands on Saturday evening and a performance by a magician and hypnotist Friday night.

Trevor Kiitokii, a Blackfoot from the Piikani First Nation outside Edmonton, promises to share a few street magic secrets with those who attend.

Worry not: his hypnotism performance does not involve persuading those under his spell to humiliate themselves in front of a crowd, he said.

“We want to clean up the mess left by other hypnotists,” he said during a telephone interview, as he drove between reserves in northern Saskatchewan.

His act should leave the crowd “laughing at the performance, but not the performer,” he said.

Kiitokii’s act is also meant to uplift young people. He talks about his own rough upbringing and offers his take on the culture of thugs and drugs transmitted to youth through gangsta rap.

He grew up around people who took those messages to heart.

“Those people are in prison or dead,” he said.

He performs at Yukon College on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $5.

A night earlier, on Friday, Battle of the Bands is to feature local music ranging from folk-rockers Come Eat a Cat to the heavy-metal of Minotaur to a set by DJ Kelvin Smoler. Admission is $10.

Both these events are open to the public. There are lots other events, from capture the flag to comic making and a lot more, being held at the college as part of the conference that require a $50 registration to attend.

The central point of the meeting is to have “young people teaching young people,” said Ashley Camara, BYTE’s events co-ordinator.

Besides fun activities, the conference also offers workshops on sex education and the effects of street drugs.

The purpose of these workshops is to provide information rather than preach how to live, said Camara.

“That’s kind of an old-school way of thinking now,” she said. “We just want to convey as much knowledge as possible. And tools.”

All workshops are facilitated by older youth between the ages of 18 and 29. This helps because it’s often easier for teens to ask awkward questions to someone who is closer to their age, said Camara.

Many conference activities should leave participants with something concrete to carry away with them. Those inclined to doodle or write poetry can submit what they make to BYTE’s zine — a self-made publication — Toxic Blend.

Those who participate in Battle of the Bands can hear their music aired on community radio later. And videos produced during the weekend will later be posted online.

Kids who attend should take away a lot more than new Facebook friends in far-away communities, said Camara. They may end up with a self-esteem boost and a better sense of their strengths.

She points to many of the conference facilitators, who were once teen attendees.

The conference isn’t just for keeners. Every year BYTE encourages teens from group homes to attend.

A troubled teen may not come out of his or her shell right away. But they may attend Battle of the Bands one year, then decide to stop in at a workshop or two the next year, said Camara.

“It’s kind of like planting seeds,” she said.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

Just Posted

The Yukon’s current outbreak of COVID-19 is driven by close contact between people at gatherings, such as graduation parties. (Black Press file)
Yukon logs 21 active cases as COVID-19 spreads through graduation parties

Anyone who attended a graduation party is being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Yukon RCMP and other emergency responders were on the scene of a collision at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway on June 12. (Black Press file)
June 12 collision sends several to hospital

The intersection at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway was closed… Continue reading

Artist Meshell Melvin examines her work mounted in the Yukon Arts Centre on June 7. The show includes over 1,000 individual portraits. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Double portrait show at the Yukon Arts Centre features art that looks back

“I hope they’ve been looked at fondly, and I’m hoping that fun looking comes back.”

Sarah Walz leads a softball training session in Dawson City. Photo submitted by Sport Yukon.
Girls and women are underserved in sport: Sport Yukon

Sport Yukon held a virtual event to celebrate and discuss girls and women in sport

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bagged meter fees could be discounted for patios

Council passes first reading at special meeting

Kluane Adamek, AFN Yukon’s regional chief, has signalled a postponement to a graduation ceremony scheduled for today due to COVID-19. She is seen here in her Whitehorse office on March 17. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
AFN Yukon’s post-secondary grad celebration postponed

The event scheduled for June 14 will be rescheduled when deemed safe

(Alexandra Newbould/Canadian Press)
In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on.
Terror charges laid against man accused in London attack against Muslim family

Liam Casey Canadian Press A vehicle attack against a Muslim family in… Continue reading

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, poses for a portrait in the boardroom outside his office in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on Sept. 30, 2020. (Emma Tranter/Canadian Press)
Two cases of COVID-19 at Iqaluit school, 9 active in Nunavut

Nunavut’s chief public health officer says two COVID-19 cases at Iqaluit’s middle… Continue reading

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. The 2021 Yukon River Quest will have a different look. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
The 22nd annual Yukon River Quest moves closer to start date

Although the race will be modified in 2021, a field of 48 teams are prepared to take the 715 kilometre journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon River

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its June 7 meeting

Letters to the editor.
This week’s mailbox: the impact of residential schools, Whitehorse Connects, wildfires

Dear Editor; Anguish – extreme pain, distress or anxiety. Justice – the… Continue reading

PROOF CEO Ben Sanders is seen with the PROOF team in Whitehorse. (Submitted)
Proof and Yukon Soaps listed as semifinalists for national award

The two companies were shortlisted from more than 400 nominated

Most Read