Chanelle Robinson, right, poses with fellow OCSLC volunteers, Sophia Mutuc, left, and Natalie Rosedale, middle. Photo courtesy of Sophia Mutuc, Diocese of London

Youth leadership conference celebrates Catholic education

By  Chanelle Robinson, Youth Speak News
  • May 22, 2015

LONDON, Ont. - Every other year, student trustees from across Ontario meet in a designated city for a weekend of faith, fellowship and leadership development.

The Ontario Catholic Student Leadership Conference (OCSLC), which celebrates Catholic education and youth leadership, held its bi-annual conference in London from May 7-9, bringing together 340 student trustees from Catholic school boards in Ontario for three days of leadership formation.

Over the three days one could feel a buzz in the atmosphere; the students were excited to be there. Catholic formation infused the itinerary for the weekend: meditation through Taizé songs of prayer, keynote speakers, social justice workshops, Mass at St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica and praise and worship, to name a few events.

A notable part of the weekend was a keynote by musician and priest Fr. Rob Galea, who encouraged the youth to “do it scared,” take courage and allow themselves to not let fear stop them from shining the light on Christ in this world.

The Drum Café Canada provided high-energy entertainment during the weekend, which emphasized harmony, collectivity and the individuality of one’s own drum and beat. Each student was given an African drum to play rhythms and music together to encourage team-building skills and a strong sense of solidarity.

Edgar Ferreria, a student speaker from St. Michael’s Catholic Secondary School in Stratford, Ont., spoke about the power of peer-to-peer formation through leadership and living out the faith in everyday life.

Representatives from L’Arche Canada, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and Free the Children were present to introduce social justice initiatives that youth can take part in.

The students were ignited to embody the words of the OCSLC prayer: “Lord Jesus, may everything I do begin with you, continue with your help, and be done under your guidance.”

The next conference will be hosted by the York Catholic District School Board in 2017.

(Robinson, 21, is a fourth-year Catholic studies for teachers student at King’s University College in London, Ont.)

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