Youth of the Year is a national initiative celebrating youth leadership and achievement at BGC Clubs across Canada. Youth of the Year aims to foster strong BGC ambassadors and build capacity for Clubs to support more youth leaders in their communities. Our Youth of the Year receive postsecondary scholarships, laptops, and prize packs, along with media and leadership training to prepare them as BGC ambassadors.
In recognizing the need to create equitable spaces for Indigenous Peoples, BGC Canada has created a new initiative launching in 2022: Indigenous Youth of the Year. BGC Canada is committed to creating opportunities and sharing stories of Indigenous youth leadership and achievement, and building meaningful partnerships with Indigenous Peoples across Canada. In prioritizing the selection of an Indigenous Youth of Year, BGC Canada recognizes its responsibility and commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and remains mindful of the historic exclusion of Indigenous Peoples embedded in the fabric of Canada.
Meet our 2022 Youth of the Year
Kayla, BGC Battlefords, Indigenous Youth of the Year
Attending BGC Battlefords for 2 years, from member to volunteer to staff. Aspiring chef, with a passion for combating food insecurity and food deserts in Northern Canada. Kayla has had many positive experiences in her Club like attending Raise the Grade, Power UP! Activities, becoming a Program Leader, to incorporating Cree language labels. Outside of her Club she volunteers with Concern for Youth, a community non-profit organization, and is a member of the Community Grants Program Advisory Committee—which guides the program’s funding and reviews grant applications. Through her community involvement, Kayla has contributed to creating care packages for women in the community and has supported land-based learning, musical artistry, and Indigenous language revitalization projects. As Youthof the Year, Kayla wants to share the supportive community BGC creates and inspire youth to realize their dreams and advocate for their beliefs.
2021 Regional Youth of the Year
Shahaddah, BGC Eastview
Attending BGC Eastview for 17 years, from member to volunteer to staff. Shahaddah is interested in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism to highlight the intersectionality between human rights-centered issues and pop culture. Shahaddah has been dedicated to her community, volunteering in numerous Club programs such as summer camp, Black Empowerment group, French tutoring for BIPOC youth, and other workshops. She has also been the MC for several Black History Month community events that have hosted over 300 youth and is a spoken word artist who has performed at multiple BGC and external events like the Toronto International Festival of Authors, TDSB Creates, and Black Women in Motion. Outside of her Club, Shahaddah is President of her school’s Student Activity Council and Black Students’ Association. She is also an advocate for human rights, working with JAYU Canada to host poetry workshops and write poetry to highlight the intersectionality between poetry and human rights. As Youth of the Year, Shahaddah wants to share the incredible impact of BGC programs on youth, inspire Canadian youth to be the change they desire to see, and show Black youth that they have the potential to be revolutionary leaders.
Maya, BGC Kimount
Attending BGC Kimount for 7 years, from member to volunteer. Maya has been dedicated to her Club and her community. From volunteering at day camps to participating in Camp Potlatch to helping at the Virtual National Youth Conference, she is a natural leader that encourages discussion. Through Creating Connections, she found her passion for activism and social justice, and she has gone on to lead her school’s Feminism Club which has hosted events and fundraisers for charity. Maya is also a co-leader of the Trout Lake Youth Council’s Arts and Crafts committee, where she has volunteered at many Trout Lake events and immersed herself in the local arts community. In addition to excelling academically and becoming involved in her community, Maya loves playing volleyball and has managed two different volleyball teams at her school for the past two years. As Youth of the Year, Maya hopes to represent and speak up for youth across Canada, as well as spread awareness about social issues that impact our present and future.
Domac, BGC Ottawa
Attending BGC Ottawa for 7 years, from member to volunteer to part-time Junior Youth Worker. Domac is interested in studying psychology and wants to advocate for accessible therapy and mental wellness programs. Domac has been actively involved with his Club, participating in Walk this Way and his Club’s summer basketball league among other sports activities. He regularly volunteers at Club events and attends programs such as Youth-Led Mentorship and Homework Club. In addition, Domac is a Junior High Leader at his church where he leads games and prayer, encourages younger children to voice their thoughts, and runs the sound booth. At school, he supports other students as a mentor and blogs about his week with the class. As Youth of the Year, Domac wants to empower others to unlock their potential in life and share the opportunities he experienced at BGC with other youth, especially in underprivileged communities.
Aparnaa, BGC East Scarborough
Attending BGC East Scarborough for the past four years, from member to volunteer to facilitator. Aparnaa is passionate about education and plans to pursue a career as a primary teacher for young kids with disabilities. Aparnaa is actively involved in her community and Club, assisting in programs such as the Reading Partnership Program and the EarlyOn program. She has contributed over 900 volunteer hours in the past 4 years throughout her community. Outside of her Club, Aparnaa is a part of the Scarborough Village Youth Council which has hosted multiple community events featuring games, guest speakers, and multiculturalism. She also co-founded Professional Pathways; a youth-led organization that makes information about career paths easily accessible to youth. As the communications coordinator and secretary, she has built Professional Pathways’ social media presence to over 2500 followers and leads 14 brand ambassadors in their involvement with the organization. As Youth of the Year, Aparnaa aims to develop her leadership potential to make a positive lasting impact on her community and future generations.
Abbey, BGC Hamilton-Halton
Attending BGC Hamilton-Halton for 15 years, from member to volunteer to facilitator and Youth Council member. Abbey is passionate about the entertainment industry and has performed in four musicals and attended many acting programs. Abbey has had many positive experiences at her Club like developing her swimming skills, attending Raise the Grade, and creating meaningful connections with councilors and other youth. She is passionate about rediscovering her Indigenous culture and has helped organize events such as Have a Heart Day and Orange Shirt Day to teach younger children how we can support Indigenous communities. Outside of her Club, Abbey is a leader for the mental health section of the Health Action Team at her school—promoting wellness and safety in her community through initiatives such as informational newsletters. She also regularly volunteers for community initiatives like the Giving Closet thrift shop and Hamilton Fringe festivals. As Youth of the Year, Abbey wants to help youth find their voice and realize there are no limits when it comes to their goals.
Muhammad, BGC Albion
Attending BGC Albion for 3 years, from member to volunteer. Muhammad is passionate about public speaking and hopes to become a public figure who inspires others. Muhammad is a leader and advocate at his Club, volunteering at summer camps and as a professional photographer on the Rexpressions media team. He has also been actively involved at school, participating in Robotics Club and the Graduation Committee. Muhammad has also consistently attended weekly Islamic lectures at his local mosque for several years and volunteered with international language classes at school for 13 years, demonstrating great commitment. He is also busy modeling and shadowing local barbers to learn about professional hair cutting! As Youth of the Year, Muhammad hopes to…