Young Voices of the North Podcast

A microphone and a laptop computer ready to record sound.
The setup.
The Rev'd Jann Brooks

In a cozy parish hall, on a bone-chilling winter day in The Pas, Manitoba, a fearlessly creative group of young people gathered to record the fourth episode of Young Voices of the North (YVN).

“The first two episodes have dropped,” explains the Rev’d Jann Brooks, Rector at Christ Church, The Pas, and founder of YVN. “And we are thrilled to finally be able to let these young voices be heard far and wide!”

The former pediatric palliative care nurse, who was ordained in 2017 in the Diocese of Niagara, and into the priesthood in the Diocese of Brandon in 2020 to minister at Christ Church, The Pas, Brooks has developed a thriving outreach to young people that benefits from her unique skills which include compassionate listening.

In 2021, amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brooks launched a Brews & Tunes monthly drop-in for youth ages 12 to 19. “Brews & Tunes was named by the youth for the combination of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and live music.” Says Brooks. The informal gatherings quickly gave youth a safe and creative space where they could connect through music and conversation. “In spring 2021 we had the opportunity to apply to the Anglican Foundation of Canada for a Say Yes! to Kids grant. When I asked the young people what they wanted to do, they came back to me and said, ‘A podcast!’”

With the help of people from the congregation to serve as “den mothers” for the group and others to source podcasting equipment, the intergenerational team has braved the learning curve of podcasting together. “The youth choose the topics,” says Brooks, who wants as much as possible for the program to be fully youth-led. In its first episode the YVN team invited two of their peers who identify as “IndigiQueer” to talk about the challenges of growing up in the north as two-spirited. In another episode, the young people share their struggles with the impact of living in the north on education and career opportunities.

YVN co-hosts Arlø Fenner (left) and Owen Dawe (right) working on the 4th YVN podcast days after the 2023 Trappers’ Festival in The Pas.

While YVN is based out of Christ Church in The Pas, the goal of the podcast is to engage both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth across Northern Manitoba by travelling to more remote communities in the area. It is hoped that next stops will include Flin Flon, Pukatawagan, and Churchill.

People can listen and subscribe to @youngvoicesofthenorth on YouTube, Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Audible and SoundCloud. Full episodes of will soon be available on the Christ Church website.


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