“Northern Lights. Illuminating Our Experience” – Whitehorse Yukon
May 1 to 3, 2019
For the first time in CAPs history, the annual conference came to Yukon and north of 60. The conference is a major undertaking for any affiliate to take on and even more so for an affiliate with roughly 50 members. To have a successful conference took a team that included the majority of Yukon principals and vice principals working for the common goal. In the end, the conference proved to be a great success on many levels. The quality of programming and speakers was world class, the City of Whitehorse and the community were welcoming, and even the weather was uncharacteristically warm and inviting. The feedback we received from delegates was very positive, as many delegates reported the conference offered unique opportunities that included a blend of First Nation and northern cultural perspectives on education. For the Association of Yukon School Administrators (AYSA) it was a PD opportunity we could not have provided for ourselves without CAP and we were pleased to share the opportunity with colleagues from across Canada. It was truly a win/win experience.
The conference was kicked off with a pre-conference cultural and education tour of Carcross, a community south of Whitehorse steeped in both aboriginal and 19th century gold rush history. The tour included a celebration of traditional dance performance by the students at Ghuch Tia School in Carcross. Delegates were also witness to a moving account of the Chooutla Residential School experience, a residential school established in 1911 and operated until 1969 in the Carcross community.
The conference program purposely began with a reflection on where we have come from collectively in education from a First Nation context as addressed by Gabrielle Scrimshaw. It then moved into the celebration of learning as showcased in Yukon’s many experiential programs such as the annual bison hunts and its integrated arts program (MAD). The final emphasis of the conference was moving forward on the path of success for all students, as addressed by several speakers including John Malloy of the Toronto District School Board.
Being involved in the development and facilitation of this conference on behalf of CAP and AYSA has been a highlight of my time as a CAP board member service fellow educational leaders from across the country. I look forward to the conference in Winnipeg in May 2020 and I am confident that the experience will equal, or surpass the learning opportunities provided by the 2019 Yukon conference.