Live webcast with UN on the rights of Canadian children

Turn Up the Volume

Why are more Canadian children victims of violence than are adults?

Why is the suicide rate among Aboriginal youth so high?

Why is Canada still one of the few industrialized nations without a national Children’s Commissioner?

 

These issues may seem disparate, but they are related because they are all children’s rights issues. The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out minimum conditions for good childhood. They include protecting children from all forms of violence and harm, ensuring they have the developmental supports they need and establishing child-sensitive governance processes such as independent child Advocates and Commissioners. How well the Government of Canada meets its commitments to protect and provide for these rights directly affects the lives of children and youth across the country.

 

For the first time ever, a discussion between the Canadian Government and the United Nations on the rights of Canada’s children will be webcast live for “Turn Up the Volume”. Representatives from the government will answer questions on Canada’s progress in advancing the basic rights of children outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the challenges that affect our children and youth, and the action needed to address them.

 

Gather friends, family or colleagues for a viewing party at your home, workplace, youth group or community space. Don’t just listen — tune in to www.unicef.ca/turnupthevolume and the live expert blog at www.rightsofchildren.ca to join a broader national conversation on the issues and the kind of Canada you want for children and youth.

 

Who? All Canadians, particularly children and youth

 

When? September 26 & 27, 2012

 

Visit unicef.ca/turnupthevolume for viewing times, your Party Kit, how to join the conversation, and more about children’s rights and Canada’s dialogue with the UN.

THE WAR ON THE WORKERS- NAMING IT AND FIGHTING BACK

September 29, 2012 in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

www.peaceforumteachin.org

A Teach-in presented by The World Peace Forum Society.
Co-sponsored by the SFU Labour Studies Program
Sept.29, Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre, Vancouver

We live in a society that is, unfortunately, fond of war imagery. Those in power have created and financed the Œwar on drugs‚ and the Œwar on terror‚. While neither has been successful in their expressed aims, they have both contributed significantly to an erosion of our democratic and human rights, and have both enhanced surveillance of civil society by the state. Cynics might argue that this was their real intent.

Another war- this one undeclared and unnamed as such- is the ‘war on the workers’.Usually called Œausterity‚ or Œrestraint‚, this war is waged by the rich and their wanna be‚s against the working class and the poor, including women, students, aboriginal people and the elderly.

Although not meriting recognition as a ‘war’ by the class that wages it, it is very real in the casualties it causes- in the form of both dead and wounded- just like a ‘real’ war. And just like a Œreal war‚, the generals and other officers who design and orchestrate it are a long way from the front lines, and well protected from any danger to their lives and property.

Program, speakers and bios on our web site

  www.peaceforumteachin.org

Camp NeeKauNis, Summer 2012

This summer at Camp NeeKauNis has been quite a busy one. So much so, that I did not manage to take many photos of my various visits up to the programs. You can see more about what has been happening at: www.neekaunis.org

Suggested Action on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.

Dear Canadian Friends – 

            Late summer greetings to you all.

            Many of you are deeply concerned about the potential effects of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.  At Canadian Yearly Meeting August 11 – 18, 2012 a proposed letter that had been developed by Vancouver Island Friends was further seasoned by a Special Interest Group.  The related minute approved is pasted in below.

            You will note that you are asked to consider using this minute in writing to members of governments of British Columbia, Alberta and Canada to express your concern. 

            I have prepared a letter to The Secretary to the Joint Review Panel Enbridge Northern Gateway Project from Canadian Yearly Meeting which was faxed to them before their deadline, August 31, for submitting letters of concern.  You have a longer lead time to write to members of the various governments.  If you would like to read more details of the Review the following link should be useful.
 

Thank you for whatever work you can take regarding this further threat to the Environment and the rights of First Nations in Canada.

 

In Friendship,

Carol Dixon,  Presiding Clerk – Canadian Yearly Meeting

 

=============

62. Report from the Special Interest Group on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal: 

The Special Interest Group asked Canadian Yearly Meeting to approve the following minute:

Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) opposes the development of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. This opposition is based on: 

•           far-reaching decisions being made for British Columbians and Albertans by the Canadian government that have ramifications for climate change and for the health and well-being of present and future generations;

•           solidarity with Indigenous Peoples regarding their sovereignty over their territories, as expressed in the Coastal First Nations Declaration and the Save the Fraser Declaration. Development should not take place on Indigenous territories without the free, prior and informed consent of the affected peoples. This principle is consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous peoples’ rights and related government obligations under Canada’s constitution, and with Supreme Court jurisprudence that calls for consent on “very serious issues”;

•           high probability of devastating damage to major B.C. and Alberta rivers from pipeline disasters and the hazards to navigation for oil supertankers using the coastal port at Kitimat, B.C.;

•           unavoidable damage and destruction of B.C.’s unique habitats and ecosystems, including destruction of wildlife and loss of biodiversity at a time when all life forms, including human, are under extreme environmental threat;

•           inevitable decline of cultures, communities, and livelihoods which are sustained by the lands, rivers, and ocean waters of British Columbia.

We approve this minute and we approve forwarding it as soon as possible to:

•           the governments of BC, Alberta, and Canada;

•           the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, an independent body, mandated by Canada’s Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board;

Scam Targeting Quakers

May 162012

Susan Addison, Australia Yearly Meeting.

Friends in Australia were this week targeted by a sophisticated scam operation. It is believed that the callers used names and phone numbers readily available from the Australia Yearly Meeting and Britain Yearly Meeting websites to approach Friends for money and to cite the names of other Friends who could vouch for their bona fides. At least one Australian Friend responded to the caller’s urgent appeal for funds and sent money.

Australia Yearly Meeting Secretary Susan Addison was phoned at the start of office hours on 8 May by a caller purporting to be stranded at an airport in the Philippines. The caller used the name of a person listed on the Britain Yearly Meeting website and claimed to have been given her name by ‘Quackers’ in Britain. The names and phone numbers of several Britain Yearly Meeting employees were provided as people who could vouch for his story.

When told that she would wait to talk first with Britain Yearly Meeting (a 10-hour time difference) the caller left a voice mail message on the AYM office phone in a woman’s voice and sent an email via the AYM website purportedly from one of his referees.

The caller moved on to other names found the Australia Yearly Meeting over the next two days, now citing the Australia Yearly Meeting Secretary Susan Addison as the person who had given him their name as someone who could help.

Prominent ‘Scam alert’ warnings have been placed on the Quakers Australia website and Regional Meeting clerks have been asked to disseminate the warning. Key elements of the story are: family with Quaker connections urgently needs money to attend family funeral; money to be transferred via Western Union to an address in the Philippines. The caller has threatened to contact ‘Quackers’ in other countries.

If in doubt when a request for funds is made, Friends are advised to ask questions beyond the scope of the well rehearsed story to ascertain where the caller is a genuine Friend, or delay responding until they can check with the sources named. 

2013 Workcamp Opportunity: June 22- July 27, 2013

A project of the Friends Peace Teams

2013 Workcamp Opportunity

 

 

Mutaho, Burundi

Saturday, June 22 to Saturday, July 27, 2013

 

Host Partner: REMA – is a group of about 50 women (Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa) from Mutaho Friends Church led by Pastor Sara Gakobwa. The name, REMA, means be comforted, do not get discouraged. Learn more on page 23 – After the Guns Stopped at http://www.aglifpt.org/publications/articles/hroc/pdf/aftergunsstopped.pdf

(see excerpts from the introduction below).

 

Location: Mutaho, Burundi – Northeast of Bujumbura near Gitega – Mutaho is the second largest city in Burundi

 

Objective:  The Workcamp Peace Team will build guest rooms for the Mutaho Women’s Group Center.

 

Housing: Workcampers will stay with local host families.

 

 

When visiting Burundi in October 2005, Adrien Niyongabo, the Coordinator of the Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) program, and I met with Mamerthe Sibomana and I was overwhelmed by the stories she told us. Listening to Mamerthe I realized that there were probably many stories that needed to be told and heard. . .

As one listens to these stories, one realizes that the situation in Burundi is complex. There is not a good side and a bad side/good people and bad people, not even a Tutsi side and a Hutu side. Life is more complicated than our poor powers to add or detract. . . There are nineteen of them [stories in the article]. . . In my whole life, I have never experienced or witnessed even one of these events. Some I can’t even imagine—”Forced to hide among the dead” or “forced to harm or kill a family member or friend.” Participants in the HROC workshops each experienced an average of 9 ½ of these traumatic events. . . I recommend that you read this report carefully, listening well to the lessons of the stories and the wisdom of those who are healing from traumatic events.  Excerpts from the introduction by David Zarembka

 

 

Contact Dawn Rubbert via or go www.aglifpt.org

 

 

Workcamper Qualifications/Expectations

 

General: We accept all ages: workcampers have been as young as 8, as old as 84 and have included an entire family of five. Our goal is for each team to include 6 international (non-local) and 6 local workcampers plus professional builders.

 

Physical & Skill requirements: Good health and willingness to do manual labor. Construction skills and experience are not necessary.

 

Living conditions: All workcamps will be spartan. There may be no running water (pit latrines and splash baths), limited electricity, and, email may be non-existent

or erratic. 

 

Expected Conduct for Team Members While in Africa: The African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) partners with African Quaker Yearly Meetings. Team members will be in close contact with members of these Yearly Meetings. Workcampers are expected to abide by local Quaker behavioral expectations as delineated below. These restrictions apply from the time of arrival in Africa until the individual returns to his/her home country.

 

Guidelines

 

Peace Team Members are expected to abide by behavioral guidelines as delineated below. These guidelines apply during the entire time you are an AGLI Service Team Member.

 

  • Respect and follow directions of the African workcamp leaders supervising the workcamp.

  • Do not buy cooked food from street vendors because the food may have been cooked in unsanitary conditions.

  • No use of tobacco products, including smoking; no alcohol; no illegal drug use – including marijuana; and, no sex outside of marriage – heterosexual or homosexual. If AGLI learns that you are doing any of these activities you will be asked to return home immediately at your own expense. If you have concerns or questions ask now.

  • There are many ways of behaving that can be rude or insensitive to Africans. Clean clothing, without tears and/or holes must be worn at all times. Good attire is expected at official functions such as attending church — women should wear skirts or dresses at least covering the knees and men should wear a nice shirt and long slacks. 

  • Do not go barefoot outside the place where you are sleeping.

  • Do not go out at night unless accompanied by a local African workcamp team member or another local adult.

  • Be extremely careful with all the gadgets with which internationals are so well endowed — camcorders, CD players, laptops, cameras, video games, and the taking of pictures and videos. 

  • Do not take expensive things, including jewelry, when modestly priced ones will do. Be keenly aware that funds are very scarce for Africans–what you might consider a modest expense (dinner for $3) might be better used by Africans for family welfare.

  • Individuals will frequently ask you for assistance. Under no circumstances give funds to individuals, no matter how much you want to help. Gifts must not be given to individuals as this will create gossip, envy, and hostility in the community. If you would like to be generous, give funds or gifts to the local AGLI partner organization with which you are volunteering, or which is hosting you. Ask them to use your donation for whatever they consider to be the most pressing need in the community.

  • Do not take anyone to the hospital, clinic, or doctor. Do not buy medicine for anyone but yourself since you can be blamed if something goes wrong and you perhaps are being scammed and overcharged. If someone is sick, it is the responsibility of African staff to take people for treatment

  • When possible attend social events including church services around your area.

  • Wear a seat belt whenever you are in a vehicle that has them. Seat belts are required by law in Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda. Be very cautious about riding a motorcycle.

  • It is safer not to give a lift to armed people, except when there is no choice. Do not give beer to or buy beer for soldiers, guards, or any other individuals.

 

If you want a deeper understanding of the need for any of the above rules, please ask Dawn, or 314-647-1287 (USA).

Orientation for North American Workcampers: Saturday, June 22 – Monday June 24, most likely at William Penn House in Washington D.C. http://williampennhouse.org/node/89  Workcampers should arrive Saturday afternoon or early evening. Sessions after Saturday dinner are usually informal. Orientation begins in earnest on Sunday and continues into the evening. On Monday workcampers will be transported to Dulles Airport to depart for Africa.

 

NOTE: Workcampers coming from Europe are expected to attend this orientation.

 

Responsibilities of Workcamp Team Members:

 

1.  Each workcamper is expected to conduct fundraising: a minimum of $2300 plus the actual cost of airfare to/from Africa (roughly $2000). AGLI will assist you and your support committee with fundraising ideas. $2300 includes: the cost of orientation for North Americans; cost of food and lodging in Africa; $1200 towards building materials for your workcamp project; and $450 for AGLI expenses. Airline tickets will be purchased for each workcamper when we have received the first $2000 in donations. If these funds are received by April 1st it is likely that the airfare will be $2000 or less. Later purchases can cost significantly more.

 

2.  North American workcampers must arrange and pay for travel to/from Washington, DC for Orientation.

 

3. Visa fees:  Burundi $90; Kenya $50; Uganda $50; and Rwanda—none required.

 

4.  Shots and medicines – Information is in AGLI’s Volunteer Handbook.

 

5. One 50 pound suitcase with children’s clothes, school supplies, and over-the-counter medicines. Specific details vary with time and place and will be provided to accepted applicants.

 

Application: To receive an application email or download it from our website http://www.aglifpt.org.

 

Application deadline: We will continue to accept applications until all workcamp quotas have been filled. Send completed applications to via email. Remember that applications will be processed only after receipt of a report from the clerk of the clearness committee, via email. Applications will be considered on a first come/first served basis. AGLI will inform applicants regarding acceptance within two weeks of receiving both the application and the clearness committee report.

 

— A Volunteer Handbook is available —

 

 

AFRICAN GREAT LAKES INITIATIVE

FRIENDS PEACE TEAMS

1001 Park Avenue   St Louis, MO 63104  USA  Phone:  314.647.1287

Email:      Webpage: http://www.aglifpt.org    

 

Education Grants and Loans – encouraging expanded awareness, visioning, and discernment within the context of supportive Quaker institutions & communities…

Home Mission and Advancement Committee (HMAC) offers various types of grants and loans, or supports referrals to other funds for members and attenders of Canadian Yearly Meeting who wish to pursue educational opportunities in various contexts. We have chosen to interpret “education” in a fairly broad sense. Examples include attendance at the FGC Gathering, Pendle Hill,and various Quaker-related conferences. 

In some cases, the Pendle Hill scholarship has provided the space and supportive nurture for writing or artistic projects. 

Applications for financial support from any of these funds must be accompanied by a Minute of Support from the applicant’s Monthly Meeting. Applications are normally reviewed at the next scheduled HMAC meeting 

(Oct. / March each year). However, applications may be fast-tracked when time constraints dictated by circumstances outside the applicant’s control require a decision before the next HMAC meeting.

Friends receiving grants/loans from HMAC are expected to submit a report to HMAC and, either write an article for The Canadian Friend, or share through another medium (e.g. blog, workshop, or video).

 

Friends may be awarded an educational grant or loan only once in any three-year period. A Friend may only receive the Pendle Hill Scholarship once.

Monthly meetings are asked to especially encourage young friends, and those who have never before been involved with ongoing Quaker education, to apply. 

To download and print a copy of the complete information on funds available, applicants should go to the CYM web page and follow the links from the “Education Grants and Loans” box. 

Applicants may also email, phone or write the HMAC Grants & Loans Officer, Brent Bowyer, RR2, Wingham, Ontario.  N0G 2W0    (519-357-1883)   <>.


Education grants and loans
Quaker Studies Fund
Pendle Hill Scholarship Fund (a week-long sojourn which may include a short educational workshop)
Dorothy Muma Memorial Bursary (limited to residents of Ontario or Quakers wishing to pursue a leading in Ontario)
Quaker Youth Pilgrimage (bi-yearly, next one in 2014) 
Referrals to other funds

Announcing a New Website for Young Adult Friends

You seriously want to check this out!!!!!

The mission of the young adult Friends web resource is to strengthen, network,and diversify the connections between young adults and Quakerism in a contemporary, faithful, and loving manner.

http://www.youngadultfriends.org/

Friends General Conference High School Gathering 2012

You may be wondering why the Canadian Yearly Meeting Youth Secretary is writing about FGC’s High School Gathering program. However, it makes more sense than you may realize. Canadian Yearly Meeting is part of Friends General Conference (FGC) and the Gathering is one of many programs that FGC offers to support Quakers and seekers, and it has a really energetic and rewarding youth program. This year there were 100 high school aged F/friends in the High School Program. It’s an experience worth thinking about participating in!

This year, the Gathering was in Kingston, Rhode Island at the University of Rhode Island campus. The High School Program had a staff of 15, 3 of whom were Canadian. The program is a week long intensive where all of the high school participants and staff sleep in a dorm together to create an intentional community while participating in the daily activities of the rest of the Gathering. There are a variety of awesome workshops which each participant pick one from that is the focus of their week.

See the High School Program 2012 schedule here.

The OUT TRIP on Tuesday is one of the high lights of the week. The whole HS program leaves campus and goes to a location with lots of green space and water for the afternoon. We have a picnic lunch, play games, go swimming and take our group photo! It is a rocking good time. This year we went to Watson Farm, had a tour which included seeing animals and then spent the rest of the afternoon at their rock beach.

Other awesome things that happen throughout the week include:

  • 2 Dances. The AYF (Adult Young Friends) program and the HS program join together to coordinate the All Gathering Dance. It is a fun time where the whole community can come together and celebrate through dance. The second dance is a High School dance that leads into our (optional) all night celebration. This is a rocking good time, generally a bit sweaty but worth every drop!
  • 2 Meetings for Worship with a Concern for Business. Unlike the rest of the Gathering, the HS (and AYF) programs have a small amount of business to accomplish throughout the week. The program has some options to amend their guidelines and address issues that have come up. For some, their experience with a M4W4B is their introductory experience. Clerked by their peers; I believe it to be one of the most transformational and spiritually based M4W4B that I have ever attended.
  • Support Groups (SG). One of the most exciting things about being a High School Counselor is that you are part of a SG with 8-10 participants. This groups gets together for an hour each afternoon and again at midnight for “check-in”. The idea is to create a smaller group of folks to get to know each other, support each other throughout the week, disseminate information, discuss any issues or topics that come up, play games and just have a great time!
  • All Gathering Capture the Flag. This is a staple of the Gathering. I can’t remember a time when it didn’t happen. The Monday afternoon of Gathering is spent in joyful intergenerational play!
  • Plenaries. Each evening there is a plenary session with a special guest, special activity or event. They are diverse and have appeal for many.
  • Affinity Groups. Depending on the energy of the HS community, the staff support them through having affinity groups- men’s, women’s and FLGBTQC are the usual ones. Though we are always open to others. These groups get together with those who self identify and want to participate to have conversations, do art and just delve into the topics at the forefront of their minds.
  • Nurturing & Discernment Committees. There are tons of opportunities to try new experiences of leadership and nurturing your gifts. A couple of these are serving on the Nurturing Committee and/or serving on Discernment. The Nurturing Committee is a group of participants who carry the concern for the spiritual and emotional well-being of their community for the week. They address any concerns as they come up and may send an item to M4W4B or to the staff, depending on what is appropriate. Discernment committee is the committee struck to discern the clerks for the HS program the following year.
  • WINK. Anyone who knows the game knows the wonder of wink. Anyone who doesn’t is probably flummoxed by any description that is articulated. The only way to understand wink is to watch a couple rounds of it and then maybe, if you’re feeling brave, join in.
  • Celebration. The celebration is the programs final closing. Starting with the closing worship Friday afternoon and continuing until parents/sponsors check the participant out of the program, it acknowledges the community that has been built, celebrates our being together and releases everyone until next time. Generally the celebration includes a top-secret staff designed theme, lots of food, a talent show, submitting the program evaluation, getting some sleep (hopefully), packing so that you’re ready to leave, a sunrise walk and tons of time just chilling and having those final conversations and connections with each other.

Pelham and Yonge Street Combined Half Yearly Meetings

The weekend was wet. Like really wet. But we needed the rain, especially after a very dry May, so it’s not like you could complain about it. However, I wasn’t really sure how a weekend up at Camp NeeKauNis with rain, rain and more rain predicted was going to work out for a group of over 80 people.

The drive up was stressful. Anyone who has spent a Friday afternoon on the 400 headed north, knows what I am talking about. However, because of the bad forcast, things were moving significantly faster than I could have hoped. We missed dinner, but managed to arrive with plenty of time to spare before the evening program (phew)!

photo credit: Grayden Laing

Sue Starr and I were facilitating a session on Membership, specifically around Transitional Membership. It was an energizing session where first we found our commonalities through the activity Big Wind Blows and then we assumed roles that weren’t necessarily true for us (YF, YAF, Camp NKN, CYM, Half Yearly Meeting, Monthly Meeting, FGC) and looked at what the challenges and joys of transitional membership would be for us as that specific group or demographic. It led to really rich discussion.

Due to the inclement weather, the majority of folks spent their time singing, playing cards or just catching up in Nelson Hall or the Meeting Centre during free times.

Saturday the weather was a little less wet, though still fairly gloomy. For anyone who has eaten at NeeKauNis, you know the simplicity and quality of the cooking leaves you feeling sated and often wondering about getting your hands on the recipes. A huge THANK YOU to all of the folks working in the kitchen. Every meal was delightful.

There were business sessions, memorial meetings and lots of opportunities to play and connect. I spent my afternoon with the teens +/- having a rocking good time! We made use of every dry minute playing soccer and took refuge in the front porch of Haslam when it was wet. There were card games and improv games that kept us laughing and learning about each other. A number of folks made floating lanterns as well. The weekend ended after meeting for worship on Sunday and a group clean up of Camp, leaving it ready for the next group that would be in to use the space.

What an incredible gift to spend a whole weekend in fellowship with all of you. Thank you!