It was an emotional Annual General Meeting as Wayne Helgason stepped down as President of the National Association of Friendship Centre’s. Mark Maracle expressed his closeness to the former president and said “he was a great leader and he’ll be dearly missed.” Helgason left his position with class, adding he wished his family had attended. The executive board’s gift to Helgason was beautiful buckskin Jacket.

The Urban Multi-purpose Youth Centre’s (UMAYC) initiative was a hot topic for the General Meeting. The UMAYC helped selected organizations develop youth centers through the Friendship Centre’s and Metis National Council. The six cities received the UMAYC allocations included
Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Regina, Edmonton and Calgary.

There were guests who expressed gratitude to the friendship Centre Movement. They included Montreal Mayor Pierre Bourque and Ghislin Picard, the Assembly of First Nation’s representative for Quebec and Labrador. Picard thanked the Centre for letting him and friends stay the night at the Quebec Centre. He later became the president of the Quebec Friendship center. Michelle Audette, former president of the Montreal Friendship Centre said she would liken to arrange a protocol agreement with the Friendship Centre Movement. Chief Joe Norton of Kahnawake said “your community is our backyard, treat your elders, family and friends like you treat your backyard.” Last but certainly not least was the President of the Montreal Native Friendship Centre Will Nicholls, who brought some heartfelt words about the city of Montreal and who put in a lot of time and effort into the Annual General Meetings organization.

Elections took place at the AGM and the National Association has a new president, a Dennis Francis of Merrit, British Columbia. The new Vice-president is Marie Whattam of Ottawa. The new secretary is Mary Head of Winnipeg.

In conclusion the AGM was well organized and I also give a big thanks and congratulations to Will Nicholls on a job well done for the success of the AGM and the success of the Youth Forum. Great Job Will!