Young Workers in Action – Stephen Von Sychowski
The BC Federation of Labour will hold its annual Young Workers Retreat this year from June 8-10 at Camp Jubilee on the beautiful Indian Arm. The Retreat has been taking place since 2008 and has doubled in size since that time.
Participants come from unions in communities across the province for the three day event where they will take part in classes such as Introduction to the Labour Movement, Building a Young Workers Committee, Political Action, Mobilizing and Campaigns, and Equality and Discrimination. They can also participate in outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, and kayaking.
The Retreat is an excellent educational experience and a lot of fun, as any former participant can attest. But it has also proven to be one of the most effective events in terms of getting young workers involved in the movement in the long term. Many of the youth who are members of the Young Workers Committee today first got involved through the Retreat. Many others have gone on to chair committees and hold executive positions within their own unions.
This will be my fourth year attending the Retreat, and my third as the chair of the committee. Still, every year, whether I’m taking a course or facilitating one, you can’t help but learn a lot. You learn not only from the courses and the great facilitators, but from the other participants as well. I’ve met people there who today I see every week in meetings and at events and rallies. I’ve seen friendships develop, and solidarity grow.
This year the Young Workers Committee has set itself an audacious goal; to fill Camp Jubilee to capacity. This means approximately 120 young workers should be heading to camp this June. It sounds like a lot, but it’s realistic. Last year we had our highest turnout yet; over 90 participants.
But to make it work we need your help, regardless of your age. We need young workers to volunteer to attend, you won’t regret it. Talk to your union President about going the Young Workers Retreat this year. We need union leaders to step up to the plate and support young workers to attend. It’s a worthwhile investment in the future and at this critical moment for the labour movement what could be more important than ensuring that the next generation is prepared to take us into the future. And we need everybody to help spread the word. Talk to young workers in your union and in your workplace about the Young Workers Retreat. Encourage them to attend, and to bring a friend.
The catch is you’ve got to do it quick. The early bird deadline, April 13, is fast approaching. After that registration will continue until May 18, but with a slightly higher registration fee. Plus spaces are limited, so hurry your registrations in because it’s first come, first serve. Contact the BC FED for information. See you at Camp Jubilee!