SSC employee Irwin Cortez reflects on Canada’s Youth Summit 2019
On May 2 and 3, 2019, SSC’s Irwin Cortez was one of 300 young people, invited from every province and territory, to join the Prime Minister at the first Canada Youth Summit. Cortez is an Issues Manager with SSC’s Chief Financial Officer Branch and is also a Cadet Instructor Cadre Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. He joined with young leaders in Ottawa to:
- launch Canada’s first youth policy;
- talk about key issues important to youth;
- share experiences with service and what it means to them; and
- inspire other youth to serve their communities.
In his own words
Let’s learn about his experience from Cortez himself:
A few weeks ago, my military chain of command asked me to participate in the first Canada Youth Summit at Carleton University. This event brought 300 young people from across the country to Ottawa to engage with the Prime Minister, subject matter experts, and youth leaders. As a young member of the Canadian Armed Forces, it gave me a remarkable opportunity to engage with others my age, and to share common experiences and stories. For example, I:
- listened to influential speakers, such as Olympian Tessa Virtue and Astronaut Dr. Jenni Sidey-Gibbons;
- took part in forums with youth from across the country on a wide variety of issues like gender equality, employment, youth engagement in politics, and democratic participation. These are important issues that we, Canada’s up-and-coming generation, will face;
- spoke with other Canadians about my life experiences, and what similar stories we share;
- met with other Indigenous youth, and learned more about youth issues in Canada’s remote northern communities; and
- gained an appreciation for the opportunities I’ve been fortunate to have thus far.
I am grateful for having had this opportunity to speak with such empowered and determined young Canadian leaders.
My biggest take away was the opportunity to perform a ‘Service Experience’. Part of the Summit was going into the community to help those in need. I had the chance to go to the Shepherds of Good Hope, where I helped prepare food packages for families. Shelter volunteers explained how they help those less fortunate and support problematic substance use initiatives. Having lived in Ottawa for seven years, I wasn’t fully aware of these services, but will be forever grateful for this opportunity to help deliver them.
This experience helped me further understand that everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different stories. Talking to Canadians from coast to coast to coast helped me gain an appreciation that there is no ‘one size fits all’ for the country, with respect to providing services. In my day-to-day, it helps motivate me, as a public servant, in knowing that we’re trying to do better for all Canadians.
Overall, it was a privilege to participate in the Canada Youth Summit. Interacting and engaging with youth from different backgrounds and from around the country provided me with an experience I won’t soon forget.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: