YSI gatherings are rooted in hosting practices - having conversations that matter so we can tap into collective intelligence for shared learning and co-creation. Collaboration Camp is being hosted by an experienced team of young facilitators and community builders that are designing our time together under the stewardship of longtime members of our community. 

We are excited to share a bit of our story below, and look forward to deepening, learning and building together in person soon!


hosting team

Jasmine Ali

I identify with the Kenyan and East African community, the spoken word community, the artistic and creative community, and my church community. I work at a community arts organization called Sketch, where I facilitate theatre- and improv-based workshops on rights and responsibilities for service providers and students that are inside the social service system. We try to support young people in accessing justice and equipping  themselves with knowledge about their power.

My experience at the last gathering made me want to be a host this time around. I still remember the connected atmosphere and how well people were held in that. My role is to support people who are wandering in, maybe not sure of what's going on, to make them feel included. I also want to diversify the gathering through my lived experience in inner city, urban communities - and connect that to other experiences across the province. This is an exciting learning challenge for me - to keep learning about my strengths in order to connect communities. 


Jessica Bolduc

I am an Anishinaabe kwe from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Batchewana First Nation. I have been working in community economic development in Northern Ontario for the last five years, including as the National Youth Representative for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which advocates for urban, off-reserve Aboriginal peoples in Canada. I'm also the Project Coordinator for the 4Rs Youth Movement (4RYM), a collaboration of fourteen national organizations who are working with youth to rebuild Canada by creating opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people to come together.

I came to YSI as a founding member informing the development of the Algoma hub for cross-cultural youth organizing in Northern Ontario. It has been a privilege being in dialogue and learning with YSI and 4RYM. Together, we are working to reconcile our relationships in support of a better future.


Chris Connolly

Things all started for me in community - the friendly and sparkling Kennebecasis river valley in Southern New Brunswick. Then one day, I got really excited about "systems" and "issues" and other weird and fanciful abstractions. These took me to many wonderful places, none of which I could quite call "my community". Now, for the first time in my adult life, I am rediscovering that community-feeling in connection to issues and systems that matter to me as a person (in hopes of one day connecting these learnings back home). For now, I am finding that connection in Toronto through YSI, the Grassroots Youth Collaborative, and my writing and storytelling practice within this Big City creative landscape. 

I am hosting the gathering with a few hats aside from the ones I named above: as a communications support person with the network, and as a developing practitioner at the intersection of program evaluation, facilitation, storytelling and design. I am really excited to explore my role as someone who can support teams in my overlapping communities to learn from their own experiences, from each other, from their context, and to step forward into what these signals are calling them to create. 


Peter Gindl

I have been dedicated to Youth Engagement for over four years,
contributing as a peer-to-peer outreach worker, an advisory committee member, an event organizer, a school-based facilitator, a mental model innovator, a resource creator, a youth group leader, and a provincial trainer on youth engagement
practice. I also like long walks in the snow, Thai food, and dancing around an open fire.

I fell in love with YSI after the first gathering I participated in, and would jump at any opportunity to continue working with these wonderful people. From learning about the art of developmental evaluation in Toronto to jumping in to the frigid Lake Chiblow with a ton of new friends, my experiences with YSI are always enlightening, enriching, rejuvinating, and joyful. 


Shannon Moan

I am a singer/songwriter, artist, photographer, deep-hearted lover of the land, community organizer, and action researcher. Much of my heart belongs to working with children and youth with special needs using art, music and learning on land as vehicles for inner and outer exploration, transformation and joy-making. My local Queer community, YSI family and fellow community changemakers are also ever-present in my life and work.

My experience thus far with the YSI family has offered the space for me to have a voice, share ideas, give and receive support, nurture blossoming friendships, step up with confidence, and build diverse skills that I can bring back to my community work. I am stepping forward to host because I'm drawn to the people, the energy and the opportunity to build this movement together across the province.


Candace Day Neveau

I am a social entrepreneur who created Thunderbird Rock Nimkiibneshiinhaszhibik, an educational eco/culture tours company. The motivation behind it is to nourish a spiritual connection that I see society is lacking - with people disconnected from nature and who we really are.

Through YSI and other parts of my life, I can take my knowledge from my culture and apply it to how we live in mainstream.  That really inspires me to be able to be, as we say in YSI, an ‘edge walker.’ I believe that what’s going to help solidarity is talking, working together and learning. We have to keep that communication open. 


Design stewards

Jon Cada

I am from Mississauga First Nation, located near Blind River, ON. My feelings resonate well within the traditional territories of the Algoma District, as I have worked and attended school in North Bay and grown to appreciate the Nipissing region as an almost second home. My passion is applying my education and work experience to these home regions in Northern Ontario. I enjoy meeting like-minded individuals who embrace the challenge of making change happen in their communities and working to improve them for future generations.

My experience with the YSI began in the Fall of 2012 and I have always felt welcomed by the community of people I’ve met and collaborated with. I feel like I have a lot of experience to share as a result and am happy to pass on my knowledge as well as learn from others in the process.


Violetta Ilkiw

I am a seasoned facilitator, leading organizational & systems change, with a focus on participatory decision-making processes with communities and organizations. I have also acted as senior consultant to the Laidlaw Foundation for 14 years, bringing design, innovation and collaborative tools into their work with young people, funders, government and communities. I currently identify with many communities: I love living in a rural community, and I love coming to the city (but not living there). I love working with emerging grassroots groups, and I love working with institutions struggling with change. I love to see the growth process. I’m excited to hold people in that struggle of learning and change.

The YSI Collaborative is very close to my heart. I wanted to give back and support the gathering, provide support to apprentices and nurture good facilitation. It is an opportunity to continue my practice of experimenting with emergence and ways to implement wide-scale social innovation.


Chris Lee

I'm a mixed-race, second generation Canadian and have lived on both East and West Coasts, currently reveling in my hometown Toronto. Some things that get me excited: being a dad, working with groups to bring out their best qualities, singing and playing guitar, ultimate frisbee, riding my bike year round, and fueling up with good coffee and food. I'm fortunate to be part of a number of local and global communities: my family, faith community, my daughter's school community, a Toronto group called Design with Dialogue, the Art of Hosting community, my mates working on bringing more inclusion around the world, and, of course, the awesome YSI community!

I'm honoured to be playing alongside the fun, brave, talented and passionate crew hosting CollabCamp.  Since joining the YSI, I've been inspired by the commitment to individual growth and systems change that the people of the collaborative bring on a daily basis.  

Chris Lee.png

Phyllis Novak

I am a community arts developer and social entrepreneur that has been fortunate to engage with some of the most creative people in the world to make beautiful life-changing things like SKETCH (www.sketch.ca) and YSI. I grew up in a small town companion to the Walpole Island Reserve in South Western Ontario. I moved to Toronto over twenty five years ago. Whether in small towns, on reserves, in the country or in big cities, I love discovering what is common to us and what is distinctive, celebrating each and amplifying them through the arts. I especially like to pay close attention to the voices of my fellow creatives living on the margins who bravely navigate many challenges and adversities and who hold some of the most innovative strategies for making a better world. These are the voices that I believe can lead us.

I am so grateful to support this Collaboration Camp. YSI is one of the most truth-full places I know where I learn new skills all the time about how to work more effectively with others, about how to be myself and about what work really matters. This hosting team rocks and I wouldn't want to be lead by anyone else right now. See you at camp!


Gerard Sagassige

Ahnii N Boozhoo!!!!

Since I was young , I've wandered around Turtle Island and beyond. I am Ojibwe of the great Mississauga Nation and registered member of Curve Lake #35 First Nation. I am a proud dad, step dad and grand dad. I have facilitated workshops and seeded cultural language camps through out Indigenous territories and have been a spiritual advocate for well over 30yrs. 

Over all I think the way I was raised and who raised me contributes to my humour, knowledge and most importantly life long protocol to all Nations. I have been joining the YSI circle since the Bancroft gathering in 2010 and look forward to welcoming old and new faces.


Robin Sutherland

I am a community artist, social entrepreneur and loving owner of Tilly the Cat, voted "cutest cat in the world" by lots of people.  I love being in the woods, on the lake, drinking tea, reading and pondering life's great questions.  My favourite place in the world is the off-grid cabin I co-own with my life partner Fred.  I also love visiting cities (especially Toronto and New York), hosting dinner parties and having interesting conversations with people that inspire and motivate me.   I currently identify with the communities of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma, the Northern Ontario community, the community of community artists and the youth organizing community.   I believe passionately in the role of arts, conversation, cross-cultural collaboration, youth organizing and LOVE in leading grassroots social change.  

In this spirit, with the help of many many advisors, mentors, friends and colleagues, two years ago I started Thinking Rock Community Arts, a non profit social enterprise that builds community in the Algoma District of Northern Ontario by facilitating cross-cultural and multi-generational community art projects; supporting young people in creating the communities they want to live in; and consulting for communities and organizations in community development and youth engagement. Along with a community of young people we started the first regional YSI Collaborative Hub in Algoma with our "Let's Build A Fire" gathering on Mississauga First Nation this past summer.  What a learning journey it continues to be!  I'm looking forward to sharing those learnings with other young people at the Collaboration Camp who are passionate about leading change in community, and exploring together how the YSI community might be part of your journey.