Samson Socio-Economic Development and the Samson Cree Nation Youth Council hosted the “Let’s Talk” Youth Conference from November 12th & 13th. It was a great success. The two days were jam packed full of activities and breakout sessions for the youth ages 12-25. Booths were set up for the kids to look at what programs are being offered for them and class room sessions were taking in place in various places throughout the HBMC. Some classes that took place were “Virtues” teachings from Sandy Palmer, “Culture and Leadership” from Cecil Crier, “Rights of Passage” for the young women from Marcia Crier and Marilyn Yellowbird. Both booths and classrooms were also used as a place for the kids to earn stamps on their passports, where if they go to each booth and every class room session they will get a stamp where they can enter for door prizes such as ipads, itunes cards, ipods, oilers jersey, oilers shirts, phones, neechi gear, headphones, etc. Keynote Speakers were a huge part of this conference, because you want to give the kids something they can learn from and use in the near future, Kendal Netmaker CEO of Neechi Gear did a presentation on how he pushed through every obstacle in life not giving no for an answer and being sober has helped him maintain his success. J.R Larose half Nigerian half Cree, former CFL Grey Cup champion played with the Edmonton Eskimoes and also the BC Lions his lesson was that no matter how severe an injury was, no matter what happened to him he never gave up and when nobody would give him a shot someone believed in him and he made the best of his opportunities and won a Grey Cup with the BC Lions where he eventually retired so he can share his story with young native youth. Ryan McMahon a comedian that grew up in a small reserve in northern Ontario, he admitted that he isn’t as funny as some comedians, but he knows he works harder than any comedian, he knows with his will and determination he can accomplish anything and he has auditioned for TV shows such as Saturday Night Live, and made an honest living through comedy, he says “laughter is the best medicine for people in Indian country”. We also had hometown boy Karmen Omeasoo come and speak to the kids about being young and setting your goals even when your 13 or 14 to start planning on what you want to be and achieve it, make it happen, he said “not to be afraid to leave the reserve, because it will always be here, home will always be here, if you need to leave the reserve so you can achieve your goal then by all means do it, don’t sit around here and wait for something to happen. Go out and make it happen”. I talked to many of the youth throughout the youth conference and majority of them said they “absolutely loved it, and that more things like this should happen, it brings us together and we learn a lot of things”. There were 80+ kids the first day and then that number grew to 115+ the next day, it is a huge number compared to other youth conferences that have happened prior to this event, with little time and the agenda being thrown out the window, the conference was a huge success. The youth want more things to happen like this, we should make it happen. “The youth are not the future, We are right now”.