Chief Cadmus Delorme of Cowessess First Nation is one of the speakers at the ‘Next Generation of Leaders’ workshop in Prince Albert, Sask. Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask. on Monday, Nov 28, 2022. Michelle Berg/Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Hundreds of students gathered in Prince Albert on Wednesday to start off the new year with a focus on leadership, resilience and mental health. 

Groups of post-secondary students from throughout the province, as well as some high school students from northern communities, were eager to attend the fourth workshop of ‘Saskatchewan’s Next Generation of Leaders.’

Dr. June Anonson, a professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan, founded the ‘Next Generation of Leaders’ workshops in 2006.

She said this year’s lineup of speakers was particularly exciting.

Health-care leader Brett Enns, Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme, three-time Juno Award winner Susan Aglukark and Canadian Poet Laureate Dr. Louise Bernice Halfe spoke about mental health, overcoming challenges, celebrating achievement, and learning from the past to look to the future.

“We have four experts in their fields coming to share their wisdom and knowledge and information with the students,” said Anonson.

The whole afternoon was designed to send “a message of hope and encouragement and support” to every student who attends, she said.

Melissa Smith, a second-year nursing student at the U of S, was one of the student volunteers at the workshop. She was particularly looking forward to finding out how she could take the speakers’ presentations and apply those insights to her own life and studies, she said.

“I plan to do a lot with my nursing degree, and the things I plan to do require a lot of leadership. I’ve always been someone very focused on leadership. I like to initiate tasks. … (So) I’m really excited to hear tips and tricks, and learn how I can better myself to become a better leader for the future, and find opportunities with other professions.”

This was Smith’s first time attending one of the workshops. She hopes it will be the first of many, she said.

“I think students from all places should go to different workshops to learn. It just expands your knowledge. … It’s good to get uncomfortable, to not stay in a comfort zone, to go out and learn about your community and participate in community work.”

Anonson said the workshop is a way to give back to students, who are working so hard to become the leaders the province needs.

“What we’re trying to do is get a jumpstart on the year, get ahead of it, and instil some hope, encouragement and support for our post-secondary students right from the get-go,” Anonson said. “We want to be starting off the new year in the right way.”

It’s also a way to show students that their community stands behind them, and they have people all over the province, and beyond, who want to see them shine, she added.

“We want to encourage the students to stop and celebrate their achievements, their accomplishments, and how well they’re doing on their journey.”

By Julia Peterson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 18, 2023 at 12:11

This item reprinted with permission from   The StarPhoenix   Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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