A Youth Explosion 2019 - A Year Like No Other!

Presenters Bow - to a Standing Ovation!

A Youth Explosion 2019 – A Year Like No Other

Our youth Storytellers inspired an audience of over 250 people this year! 13 Youth were vulnerability warriors that had us crying, laughing, cheering, and at many points causing standing ovations. The youth planning committee poured so much into this years’ event, and it showed. Safe spaces were created for the exploration into why we share stories and the power of when we do.  

Our Youth worked hard at stepping into places of deep reflection and self-discovery to then be able to share their unique wisdoms in many unique and beautiful ways. Every year we get asked “why isn't AYE 2 days or more times a year?” and I understand that thought - every year I'm so sad its over.  

Never been to an AYE before? Check out our YouTube Video of AYE 2018  

This year’s video will be available to watch in the new year.

The Ripples- Stories Seen, Heard, Valued

It doesn’t end there; AYE has always had this amazing ripple effect. The youth presenters encourage, inspire and change the people who hear their stories, which then ripples out to more people feeling empowered to share their stories. We also see new opportunities for our presenters to share at other events or lead projects in their communities. AYE builds leaders that continue to break the many barriers they face. Stories have so much power. Seeing young Indigenous peers be so vulnerable and so brave on that stage has ignited a fire in me to step out more in the everyday.  Now its your turn! Stories don’t only have to be told from stage or at AYE. It’s important for us to be sharing our wisdoms and be vulnerable.  

"Everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to teach, and wisdom to share... Life is a beautiful masterpiece bound together by your experiences. Open up and share your story; become an inspiration to others. You can make a difference because you matter. You were created with purpose. Live your life with intention, go out there and make a difference by being the difference."

-Melanie Moushigian Koulouris

Some of the things we heard from AYE:  

  1. “Didn’t realize how many people connected to my story, I had people coming up to me crying after, and (AYE) has been part of my healing journey. I’ve been asked to speak at other events – You never know where your story will go!”  
  1. “I come every year and cry every year. I learn so much from these Youth! They are all so incredible to be so wise and strong to get up on that stage. Already have a huge list of people I’m bringing next year!”  
  1. “AYE is so different from anything I’ve been to before. You feel the authenticity.”
  1. “AYE is my favourite day of the year.”
  1. “Sharing at AYE was a barrier breaking experience for me as I was always shutting myself out of society. This experience gave me an opportunity to overcome myself and bring n a new understanding of myself. It was an honour to have been given this opportunity to share with such a supportive audience”  

The links below are some great articles about AYE 2019!




Thank you isn’t enough to express enough gratitude to Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA), Suncor, TC Energy and TELUS Spark for sponsoring AYE 2019. With your support we were able to put on a more than successful event that has inspired the many. Thank you to our Elders volunteers, staff, dancers, USAY for bringing your VR and the drum group from the T’ suuT’inna Jr. & Sr. High group. To our Presenters and Planning committee, thank you for the huge impact you have had on the Treaty 7 community.  

Coming up

AYE 2020 preparation is already underway, and we are so excited to be able to celebrate the tenth year of A Youth Explosion in the fall of 2020. In the meantime, be sure to check out our monthly Story Jams, a space to experience storytelling in new ways and hanging out with an amazing community of people. The line up so far is Story Freestyling January 23th and ZINES February 27th at MRU. Make sure to invite some friends. Follow our Instagram and Facebook to see updates and info for Story Jams and AYE 2020 @canadabridgesaye! If you are interested in getting involved, please email us at aye@canadabridges.com.    

Hope to see all of you storytellers soon!