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The intention of the Youth Sponsorship Program for the Aboriginal youth is to assist in their business and political education. Qualified youths are offered free registration to attend conferences related to the program. Many of the Aboriginal people who take part in these conferences are either youth workers, and elected or non-elected members of governments or other institutions. Aboriginal youth unconnected with government institutions, however, do not have the financial means to register and attend forums and conferences. They constitute a majority within this group, and there are many who would benefit from the education and networking connections provided by these youth counselors and educational conferences.
The objectives of the youth sponsorship programs are to benefit Aboriginal youth and empower them to participate in the political and economic development of their community. It also engrosses Aboriginal youths in the discussions and debates between their local governments, Provincial, Federal and Municipal governments, and the private sectors. They also provide help for youths with some of the tools required to forward various political causes, on and off the reserves.
As a benchmark, the youth sponsorship programs determine the value that the Aboriginal youths have received by their participation in the conference. This is done after the conclusion of the program. The key factor measured is the extent to which the participant was empowered by the education, which will affect the economic development and governance of their individual communities. The participant is asked to explain what they understood and how the participant plans to make use of this knowledge in the future.
One sponsored registration for qualified youth per Aboriginal conference is allocated by the youth sponsorship program. The selection of the successful applicant will be at the program's discretion. Criteria that are followed for the sponsorship are that the Aboriginal youth should be between the ages of 19 to 29 years, should be of Native Descent, and should be currently enrolled in a post-secondary institution.
Sponsorship funding covers the cost of the registration fee for the conference, and the materials distributed at it. It does not include the accommodations, travel, or other expenses incurred by the successful candidates, so other arrangements have to be made. Successful candidates will be informed a few weeks prior to the conference’s start date.
The program's premise is that sound management and financial practices are central to building the economic and social prosperity for Aboriginal communities. Several banks' support of the youth sponsorship program, through their national conference sponsorship funding and corporate membership, is a valued partnership that demonstrates the banks' commitment to the program's goals. It is an opportunity for banks to gain valuable exposure to Aboriginal CEO's and financial managers as well as give them an opportunity to contribute to Aboriginal governance and management and ultimately, to the improvement of the quality of life among the Aboriginal people.
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