Spark the Change 2019

Spark the Change 2019-1

Join us for Spark the Change May 3-5th! Last possible day to get your application in is April 25th. If you have any questions or need more info email Application form, letter to caregivers, and list of what to bring can be found below. See you in Debert!

Application form – Spark the Change Application Form 2019

Info form – Spark the Change Letter to Youth and Parents 2019

What to bring – Spark the Change What to Bring 2019


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boundaries and communication

Setting boundaries can be tough and communicating them can be even tougher, but they are some of the best ways we have of telling the people we love, work with, and ourselves what we’re comfortable with and what makes us feel safe, happy, and healthy.

art by @frizzkid art ❤

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Ignite: Youth Inclusive Leadership Conference!

Ignite Poster

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Spark the Change 2018


We are so excited to announce that our applications are open for this year’s Spark the Change Youth Leadership camp! Check below for Application forms and additional information.


Spark the Change 2018 letter to parents

Spark the Change 2018 Important Information

Spark the Change Application Form 2018

This year’s STC camp will be held May 25-27th at the Debert Hospitality Centre in Debert, NS. Transportation will be covered and coordinated by your regional HRY Coordinators.

contact for more information.

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Mental Health Awareness Week

1477345435Isabella-Acosta-Rumination-Text-by-Micha-Frazer-Carroll-700x715(art by: Isabella Acosta)

The first week of May is Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada. Our mental health involves how we feel, think, act, and interact with the world around us and plays a big role in the relationships that we have with others and the relationships that we have with ourselves. Mental health is something that everyone has, and looks different for every single person.

Our mental health is something that we have to maintain just like we do our physical health and well-being. However, maintaining your mental health isn’t as easy as just eating more vegetables or flossing every night, it’s about forming a relationship with yourself and really taking the time to check in and see where you’re at. Understanding were your own limits are for how much time you can spend with others, how much school work you can do in one day, and even how many scary articles about Donald Trump you can read is important. All of these things we do and care about are things that require emotional time and labor and it’s important to acknowledge that sometimes we just need to take time for ourselves to rest and reset. Taking this time is often referred to as self-care and can be as simple as writing in your journal, hanging out with your cat, or tending to your cactus collection. Setting up healthy boundaries is another big way that we can take care of ourselves and build space for positive mental health in our relationships. By acknowledging our boundaries and communicating them to others we can make sure that our wants and needs are being taken care of. For more information on healthy communication and boundaries check out session 5 of our Healthy Relationships for Youth curriculum.

In our relationships with others, it’s important to acknowledge that their mental health is different than our own. We need to respect the needs and wants of the people we care about and particularly those living with different mental illnesses. When it comes to supporting friends and loved ones who are living with mental illness be supportive and non-judgmental when they are talking about their experiences. Trivializing the mental health struggles of others when they are different from our own is never a cool thing to do. Respecting the boundaries of what language folks want to use to talk about their own mental health and how much they want to share with you is important. However, it’s also important to know your own boundaries and how much support and emotional labor you are able to do for another person. If you feel like supporting a friend or loved one is taking a big toll on your own mental health then let them know (in a respectful way) and help them find other resources and people to reach out to for support. Ensuring that we are supporting ourselves along with others can be a tricky balance but promotes the most positive mental health for everyone.

Here are some ways that we can spread awareness and create communities that support positive mental health. The biggest way we can do this is by working to reduce stigma around mental health and making it easier for folks to reach out and talk about their mental health. Understanding that mental health is something that we all have and that it looks different for everyone is the first step. Acknowledging that there is no shame in seeking support and that it takes a lot of courage to reach out to others and to work through mental health concerns is a powerful way to support positive mental health in ourselves and in our communities. Also spreading awareness that there is no shame in needing medication in order to maintain mental health, or therapy, or in any of the other choices that people make to help themselves. Reducing stigma around mental illness can be done by using inclusive language, this means not using terms like “crazy”, “psycho” or generally any language that others folks living with mental illness. This language is harmful and also reduces someone to a mental illness. People living with mental illnesses are full, whole, people and not seeing past a diagnosis is not respecting that.

For more articles on mental health check out:

Emotional self-care –

Trusting your own brain –

For resources on where to find help look at our Need Help? page

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HRY at national “Building the Field” conference

cwf arwen

Our provincial HRY coordinator Arwen Sweet presenting at this past week’s national “Building the Field” teen healthy relationships conference hosted by the Canadian Women’s Foundation in Toronto.
We are always grateful to collaborate with one another to advance this dynamic, necessary, and ever-evolving field with other recognised leaders who care just as deeply about the work. A great week of learning and sharing!

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We support trans youth in Nova Scotia and across our country and world, and will always advocate for their safety, belonging, and love. Today is #Transvisibilityday, and we’d like to share some thoughts from Alok Vaid-Menon on the subject:

On this day of trans visibility so many of us are left uneasy and conflicted. Yes, of course, visibility has been helpful and transformative. But visibility is not the same thing as justice. What has become increasingly evident is that the system is, in fact, much more willing to give trans people visibility than it is to give us compensation, resources, safety.

Here are some quick feelings about visibility on this day so enamored with it:

1) “Trans” “Visibility” is an oxymoron. Trans is who we are, not what we we look like. We shouldn’t have to look like anything in particular in order to be believed for who we are. Visibility often is a form of (nonconsensual) labor that we have to in order to make our experiences coherent to others.

2) Trans Visibility is a cis framework. Who are we becoming visible for? Why do we have to become visible in order to be taken seriously? Non-trans people will congratulate themselves for our visibility but will not mention how they are the ones were responsible for erasing us in the first place. The trans movement isn’t about trans people moving forward, it’s about cis people catching up with us.

3) Invisibility is not the problem, transmisogyny is the problem. Trans people are harassed precisely because we ARE visible. Mandating visibility increases violence against the most vulnerable among us. The same system that will require trans people to be visible will not give institutional support to us when we are harassed precisely because we are visible.

4) Visibility often means incorporation. Often the only way we are respected as “legitimately” trans is if we appeal to dominant norms of beauty, gender, race, and establishment politics. Trans people should not have to be patriotic, change what we wear, undergo medical or legal transition, really should not have to do anything in order to be respected. We were and already are enough.

5) Visibility is easy. Organizing is hard. Sharing photos of trans people and calling us “resilient” and “beautiful” does little to address the persecution so many of us face. We cannot love ourselves out of structural oppression alone. How come media visibility of trans people has not resulted in the funding and support of our organizations, campaigns, and struggles?

Let’s push harder and demand more.

For more of Alok’s work, check out their website and Facebook page here:

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