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The Brant Young New Democrats are hosting their 2nd annual Brantford Youth Leadership Conference. Founded last year by former candidate Marc Laferriere and BRANT YNDP President Ryan Jamula this NON-PARTISAN conference will build on the success of last year’s event in numerous ways with the goal of helping young people in the area learn the skills needed to lead in their communities. 

This year’s conference will take place at the Freedom House City Centre located in the lower level of the Market Square Mall (1 Market Street) on Friday May 25th, 2012 from 9:00am until 3:00pm.  

“It’s exciting moving to a full day format,” said Jamula. “Last year we had a great afternoon event but wanted this year to be more participatory and it will be. Young people have diverse interests and I think we’ve found the right balance of something for everyone. When young people are interested in leadership the whole community wins.”

The free conference with a lunch provided is aimed at high school, college and university students and will comprise of workshops, keynote addresses and participatory community art projects. Youth can register at no cost by phoning 519.751.9111 or emailing

“We’re on track to provide a very enriching day for local young people,” said Laferriere. “We’re focusing on having the participation of young people and people who took on leadership roles at a young age. It’s an impressive list of people we’ve been able to entice to Brantford for the day and we have a great team of young people helping to organize the event this year.”

Visit the Facebook Event Page at:

Follow the #BTFDyLEAD hashtag on Twitter


Photo from last year’s conference courtesy of Ida Adamowicz

Among the workshop and keynote presenters will be:

Jagmeet Singh –  MPP for Bramalea—Gore—Malton. This 33 year old currently serves as the Justice Critic for Ontario’s New Democrats and before this was a criminal defence lawyer and community advocate. After completing his B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Western Ontario, Jagmeet earned an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School and currently practices law. He is fluent in three languages – English, French and Punjabi and has competed in mixed martial arts in Canada and the US. 

Phil Gillies –  Phil served as the MPP for Brant from 1981 – 1987 and is a former Progressive Conservative Cabinet Minister and was one of the first P.C. MPPs to work for gay rights in Ontario. Most recently Phil has helped spearhead a North American movement to ban the Shark Fin trade. 

Mark Hill – Mark is 20 years old and the youngest member of the Six Nations of The Grand River Elected Council. He is a member of the Lower Cayuga Nation, Bear Clan and a alumni of Brantford Collegiate Institute, George Brown College and Mohawk College. 

Leigh Bursey – Leigh is a 25-year old, first term city councillor in Brockville, Ontario. He is a cable access talk show host, published poet, signer-songwriter, concert promoter, and youth volunteer coordinator. In the little spare time he has, Leigh is also president of a local social housing community board of directors, and is on the board for the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Corporation. A survivor of many health problems and social struggles, Leigh is a believer in living life to it’s fullest, and taking advantage of every opportunity to do something special.

Josh Bean – Executive Director of the Brantford Arts Block and the incoming Brantford Centre for the Arts.  Josh will be leading a community art exercise. 

Nicki Straza – Nicky started in youth leadership at the age of 12  she knows what it is like to be a young leader in an adult world. Nicky now specializes in mentoring young leaders.  She will chat about “Leading Up”  a program designed to help youth earn the right to be heard as young leaders in a “seasoned leaders world”. She will also highlight training opportunities available to youth through the Lead Young Training Systems. 

Marc Laferriere – Marc has been active in the community since the age of 14 when he successfully advocate for changes to the public transportation system in Brantford. He’s a co-founder of the Brantford Community Garden Project, a small business owner, a social worker and has been involved in organization at the local and national level for various causes. A 10 year alumnus/instructor/volunteer for Youth Leadership Camps Canada Marc is excited to continue bringing opportunities for youth leadership to his hometown. 

and many more…for a full list visit the Facebook Event Page.

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