Ontario YIP participants ready for change

The 2012 Youth Internship Program (YIP) Ontario Phase One (June 17-22) session ended in Kempenfelt, Ontario to rave reviews.

Nine youth UFCW Canada activist members from Locals 206 and 1000A spent the week studying big picture issues, and the complex role of labour in a world of growing inequality — between the 99%, and the 1% who control all the wealth. Workshops also included recognizing and addressing various forms of racism — from the systemic to the individual, and ways in which individuals and communities can combat racism through unity and solidarity.

“YIP was an excellent learning experience. It provided new perspectives and opportunities for discussion on a variety of issues relating to labour, capitalism and human rights’’, says Kelly Holling, a Local 1000A member.

"The YIP experience allowed me to grow as an individual," said Local 206 member David Ragni.  "I am now more aware of my capacity and potential to get involved, as well as help motivate change both socially and at work.”

The week of workshops and sessions were facilitated by national representative Enver Harbens, and by Marv Funk, UFCW Canada's educational co-coordinator. "It is always great to see the energy that youth activists bring to the equation," says Brother Funk. "Through YIP, we get to learn and work together in building a more inclusive, activist-oriented labour movement based on equity and justice at work and in the community."

Like her fellow YIP colleagues, Rayan Delbani of Local 1000A was hoping to take her YIP experience to the next level of positive change. "YIP is all about a group of incredibly committed youth activists, led by two inspiring leaders and mentors, brought together for the purpose of learning.  It made for an amazing week filled with passion, enthusiasm, knowledge and most importantly, a lead down the path for change!”

Two more YIP sessions remain for 2012: the Western Provinces YIP (July 8 -13 in B.C.) and the Eastern Provinces YIP (August 19 - 24 in Moncton, N.B.).  Young members interested in participating in the Youth Internship Program are advised to contact their local union office.