Menu Close

2024 Youth Symposium Impacts over 3,000 Local Grade 8 Students

In a world where there is so much negative news, our next generation needs our help towards strong futures more than ever. That is what makes us so pleased about successfully running our 17th Annual Youth Symposium, after being forced to cancel since 2019.

In the media! Check out the coverage provided by Cambridge Today, Guelph Today, and Wellington Advertiser.

What It Is About

The 2024 edition of this exciting and unique program was run over three days – from Tuesday, April 16 to Thursday, April 18. A cumulative total of over 3,000 grade 8 students and teachers from almost 50 schools in the area attended at Galaxy Cineplex Cinemas in Guelph (day one) and Waterloo (days two and three).

Students and teachers heard from some of the best speakers in the country for youth audiences. This amazing line-up delivered powerful messages on a variety of important life topics, all in the spirit of spurring these youth onto great success in high school and beyond!

2024 Youth Symposium photo 1 - WEB
2024 Youth Symposium photo 2 - WEB
2024 Youth Symposium photo 4 - WEB

Presentation themes included dreaming big, goal setting, anti-bullying, healthy dating, abstaining from drugs, resiliency, inclusion, accountability, and more. There was a significant focus on the physical, emotional, and mental health of students, as they prepare to begin high school. Students also learned how Child Witness Centre can support them through the criminal justice system if they are ever a victim or witness of abuse or crime.

What Is the Impact

The difference that Youth Symposium can make in the lives of young people is priceless – and will surely have a long-term ripple effect in our community. A lot of glowing feedback we've received from students and teachers speaks to how they’ve been equipped with confidence, inspiration, and empowerment to thrive – both now and well into the future.

One student shared what they learned is, “Don't let failures stop you from trying new things. Don't base your decisions on others' opinions. Do what you want even if it might not be cool.” Another student stated a few takeaways for them were, “Be careful online, believe in yourself, and stay positive about life.”

A teacher let us know, “This is so valuable for students – someone other than their parents or teachers, reaching them at their level, and inspiring them to think and/or act differently (and for the better)!” Another teacher said, “These presentations fuel and inspire kids to look beyond their phone or bedroom walls, get involved, and be an active member of your community!”

2024 Youth Symposium photo 3 - WEB
2024 Youth Symposium photo 5 - WEB
2024 Youth Symposium photo 6 - WEB

For our team at Child Witness Centre, it is very rewarding to know Youth Symposium also helps with the prevention of abuse and crime. Last year alone, we supported over 1,000 child and youth victims in Waterloo Region, Guelph, and Wellington County – and that number doesn’t include those added to our waitlist. Anything that can be done to avoid harmful incidents from happening in the first place holds tremendous value.

Much Gratitude

Our entire team would like to thank everyone who was part of making the 2024 Youth Symposium a major success! While many of our staff were heavily involved in making the program happen, we couldn’t do it alone – the help of our large crew of volunteers and partners was critical. This incredible three-day event is also made possible by the support of our generous event sponsors found below. Thank you!

We are already looking forward to the 2025 Youth Symposium!

2024 Youth Symposium Sponsors

2024 Youth Symposium sponsors