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Labrador youth who are looking for something fun, interesting — and free — to do later this summer still have time to register for the 20th annual Multi-Cultural Youth Gathering (MCYG).

The event will be taking place Aug. 7-10 at the Labrador Christian Youth Camp.

Zack Hajjaoui is the special events coordinator for the Labrador Friendship Centre and is organizing the MCYG this year.

“As this is our 20th year, we’re really hoping to make it extra special,” said Hajjaoui, noting this year, the gathering will be three nights instead of two.

“This year’s theme is, ‘Our world, our view’ — we really want to get the Aboriginal perspective on various issues.”

Hajjaoui said one of the big topics of conversation this year will be youth mental health.

“A good friend of mine, John Rice from the Canadian Mental Health Association, will be attending the gathering to talk to participants about mental health from an Aboriginal perspective,” explained Hajjaoui.

“It will be good for the youth to hear him speak and discuss this issue.”

There will be a wide variety of events for the youth to take part in, said Hajjaoui.

“In addition to swimming and canoeing, the youth will be divided into ‘house teams’, where they get points for all the activities they take part in,” he explained.

“They will learn how to set up a Labrador tent, make ‘sand bread’, hear talks on archeology and safe sex, and we are also hoping to get the drumdancers and throat singers to the gathering for a performance.”

Hajjaoui added there will also be an ‘elder’s panel’ at some point, with an elder from each of Labrador’s three Aboriginal groups talking to the youth together.

Hajjaoui himself took part in a MCYG eight years ago when he was 14-years old.

He feels it’s a great event for youth to be involved in, adding even though Labradorians are more connected then ever today with social media, it’s still important to get together in person.

“Aboriginal youth should be proud of who they are. We’re seeing more of that pride coming back. Knowing your culture can benefit you in the long run.”

Hajjaoui expressed his gratitude to the local Community Youth Network staff for helping financially with costs for the MCYG, stressing that the event is free of charge to any Labrador youth wanting to take part.

As of July 23, 10 youth had registered for the MCYG from Nain, Rigolet, Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Sheshatshiu. But Hajjaoui says they will still be accepting applicants up to Aug. 7.

For more information on this year’s MCYG or to apply, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 709-896-8302 ext. 215.

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