Posted 05/07/2019 7:23:31 PM by Tanya Colaco

One of the ways in which we’re committed to strengthening the foundations of community is by fostering belonging and connection. Our Youth Exchanges Canada program is a great example of this!

Through this program, youth get to experience the diversity of Canadian culture, build leadership skills and form new friendships. Earlier this year, not one but two groups from the Greater Vancouver area had the opportunity to partake and explore the eastern parts of our beautiful country. Read on to learn about their experiences.

Soaking Up the Culture of Stratford, Ontario

In May, the girls rugby team from Kwantlen Park Secondary School in Surrey, B.C. packed their bags and boarded an eastern-bound flight. Their final destination? The charming city of Stratford, Ontario where they spent a week with the girls rugby team of Stratford Northwestern Secondary School.

Even though the trip was short, the girls had a jam-packed schedule. To kick it off, both teams participated in the 32nd annual Miller Cup Rugby tournament at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School. While it was a fierce but friendly tournament, the girls also used it as an opportunity to raise funds for four year old Paisley, BC rugby player Graeme MacRury’s daughter who is battling leukemia.

Kwantlen Park Secondary School Youth Exchanges Canada trip

In addition to its charm, Stratford is a known theatre town and the girls happened to be visiting during festival season. So, of course, they soaked up the local culture by attending the musical "Billy Elliot". It was a ton of fun and a great bonding experience for both groups!

The girls also visited a dairy farm which was another highlight of the trip. They had the opportunity to catch a glimpse into the inner workings of the farm and even got to milk some cows! Many of the girls from both groups found that it was their favourite experience as it was a first for most of them.

At the end of the trip, the girls returned with new, long-lasting friendships and a desire to further explore Canada and the world. We’d say that’s mission accomplished!

A Slice of Life in the Maritimes

In May, the girls rugby team from Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School in Surrey, B.C. spent five, fun-filled days in Prince Edward Island visiting the girls rugby team from Montague Regional High School.

As true lovers of the sport, both teams held a mini rugby day for girls ages 4 to 12 at Montague Consolidated School. Their goal was to help kids build leadership skills and to demonstrate the benefits of sport. The day was a great success!

Lord Tweedsmuir School Youth Exchanges Canada trip

Both teams also explored Charlottetown together on a GPS tour, which was organized by Experience PEI. Together, they took in all of the sights and discovered hidden gems around the city. Along the way, they also stopped by the must-visit Anne of Green Gables store and popped by The Chip Shack for a taste of the local eats.

Youth Exchanges Canada PEI trip 2019

By the end of it, the girls returned with a richer understanding of life in the Martitimes and an experience of a lifetime they soon won’t forget.

Final Word

Want to learn more about the program or how to register? Visit the Youth Exchanges Canada website or call us at 604-218-7542. We accept applications year-round, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

About Tanya Colaco

Tanya is the Digital Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. She’s an avid foodie, enjoys learning new things and loves to travel. Tanya is also an “animal person” and can never resist petting any cat or dog that crosses her path!

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