If you’ve ever talked to someone who works at BYTE, you’ve probably heard us say Hey, you should join our facilitation team! Sounds fun, right? Or do you wonder what the heck we’re talking about, and why we keep asking you?


BYTE’s facilitation team is the heart of our organization.  Being part of the team means you get to travel around the Yukon with us to deliver youth workshops in communities, and in Whitehorse, too. Our facilitators are open-minded, organized youth who are good at going with the flow, and like to have fun.  A lot of fun.


Our workshops are all about making sure youth feel comfortable exploring issues important to them. Facilitation actually comes from the French word ‘facile”: easy. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do, create a space where it’s easy for participants to share, feel safe, and learn from each other.


In trying to break down who a facilitator is and what they do, we talked to BYTE’s Whitehorse Outreach Coordinator, Allison Furniss, and our community coordinator, Tanyss Knowles. This is what they say.




What does the word “facilitator” mean to you?


Tanyss: Here at BYTE, it’s someone who helps deliver workshops, creating a fun, safe and inclusive space.


So what’s the difference between a facilitator and a teacher?


Allison: Teachers are facilitators and have so many of the valuable skills that you need to facilitate, but teachers have to deal with things like classroom management and curriculum. I think a teacher is someone who acts in a position of authority, someone who enforces rules and discipline. A facilitator is someone who guides the group in discussions and healthy debates, conversation that ultimately leads to changed perspectives. It’s through that sharing and honesty that we learn from each other.


Why do you facilitate?


Allison: It’s fun, challenging, you get to meet new people, take part in interesting conversations, travel, plan cool activities and you’re constantly engaged with youth and contemporary issues.


Tanyss:  I love working with people. Facilitation is an extremely social profession. I believe our workshop topics are so important for youth to discuss. Issues like bullying, leadership, or substance use don’t always seem like the most exciting topics at first glance. I take a lot of pleasure in making these topics engaging for youth to explore.


What’s the most challenging part?


Allison: Every time you walk into a workshop, you’re walking into an unknown zone. You don’t always know the participants, and you don’t know what’s going to emerge. Often it’s fun, great, but it can also be really challenging and emotional.


What one piece of advice you would give to a new facilitator?


Tanyss: Always have patience.


Allison: Don’t be afraid of letting process unfold.  Have confidence in your ability to guide, to let people share, and to allow for silence and reflection, even if it’s uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid of conflicting opinions. Allow them to foster dynamic conversation and debate.


BYTE is always looking for youth between 18-30 to join our facilitation team. Right now we’re especially looking for males. If you’re interested check out our facilitation page and drop by BYTE to meet Tanyss. She’s always looking for an excuse to have a cup of tea and chat.