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Alberta's Francophone Heritage
Background, People, Culture, Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource and Alberta Lottery Fund

 

Francophone Edukit

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Franco-Albertan Youth Groups
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Franco-Albertan
Youth Groups

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For the Francophone community of Alberta, the Franco-Albertan youth represents the future and the survival of the community. Over the years, the establishment and maintenance of youth organizations have therefore been one of the community’s major priorities.

A great many different youth groups developed over the years. One of the first was l’Association catholique de la jeunesse canadienne-française (ACJC) who was first created in Quebec in 1904 and established in Alberta in 1913. Local chapters of l’ACJA were called "les cercles". The main goal of the association was to encourage its members to work for the survival of the French language and culture. In July 1933, during the Association’s national conference, Alberta’s Cercle Bellarmin, whose work had been ranked as the best in the country for that year, was awarded the Vanier Trophy, the ACJC’s highest honor.

During the annual conference of the Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta (ACFA) held in Falher in April 1932, Léo Belhumeur de ACFA’s general secretary invited a number of young delegates to participate. These delegates were quick to suggest the creation of a separate youth group. This marked the establishment of the Avant-garde. In 1834, the group’s work included a monthly publication of La Survivance des jeunes which was included in the French newspaper of the time, La Survivance.

In Decembre 1925, five young girls formed the group Les Bonnes Amies whose goal was to promote the well-being of the young women of the francophone community in Edmonton and to encourage the use of French. More than 70 young Francophone women from the city were present at the first meeting. The group will be very active for more than 25 years. Les Jeunes Canadiens a group of young men was created the same year and shared the goals of Les Bonnes Amies.

The Francophone Scout movement of Edmonton was first created in 1935 and the first Girl Guides were established in May 1937. In November 1973, the Scouts established an official Francophone district in Alberta.

La Relève Albertaine was probably one of the more successful provincial youth group. The idea was first presented by the Association des éducateurs bilingues de l’Alberta (AEBA) in 1935. More than 300 delegates participated in the first provincial conference held at Collège Saint-Jean in 1954. More than 600 young Francophones attended the 1956 conference also held at Saint-Jean. But this success was short lived. The association disappeared in 1959 because of unfortunate circumstances that have never been completely explained.

Although La Relève Albertaine was a tough act to follow, a group of young people from Edmonton created Le Comité des jeunes in 1965. Amongst their contribution was the creation of Alberta’s first Boîtes à chanson which was very popular in Quebec at the time. As with La Relève, the Comité des jeunes disappeared and was replaced in 1969 by Jeunactualité who also disappeared rapidly.

Established in 1972, Francophonie Jeunesse de l’Alberta (FJA) will prove to be one of the most important youth groups of the Franco-Albertan community. It will participate in many of the community’s major activities included L’Affaire Piquette in 1987. FJA is still working with Alberta’s Francophone youth in 2005.

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