Over 500 youth could be flocking to Yellowknife in 2023, to take part in an event combining sports, art and culture in the French language.
The Canadian Francophone Games, Jeux de la francophonie canadienne, are held every three years. The event brings together up to 600 participants between the ages of 14 and 18, who compete in disciplines including badminton, public speaking, improv arts and leadership.
President of the Fédération Franco-Ténoise Linda Bussey told Yellowknife city councillors the event is different from other youth competitions. “It’s five days of culture, leadership and sport. And this is what makes the games very different. They are very diverse, there are 13 disciplines between arts, leadership and sports.”
There are group activities – one example was in Gatineau, Quebec, teams were tasked to design a disaster management plan as a leadership competition – and opportunities to showcase local arts – the hosts have the opportunity to introduce a sport and a new art form to the games. Bussey says the plan is to work with the Aboriginal Sports Circle NWT to introduce an Indigenous sport to the 2023 games.
Bussey asked councillors May 27th for the use of Somba K’e Park as well as local schools for student accommodations, in addition to 305 staff hours for representatives on planning meetings leading up to the games. Councillors expressed tentative support, requesting more information from city administration about Bussey’s ask before giving their full support.
Grade 11 French immersion student and board member of La Federation de la Jeunesse Canadienne Française Anusha Sivakumar participated in the 2017 games in Moncton. She said it was a chance to connect with students from across Canada and build confidence in her language skills.
“Personally, I had the opportunity to build my confidence and be proud of speaking in French with a bunch of other youth from other territories and provinces, regardless of our accents or our different levels of French.”
Bussey says her team must have their bid in by September 30th. They will know if they are the successful host city in January 2020.