BYTE – Empowering Youth Society is a “by youth, for youth” organization that focuses on empowering and promoting youth throughout the Yukon and Canada’s north. Our facilitation team travels to communities throughout the Yukon and to some areas of Northern BC and NWT to deliver innovative and relevant workshops to northern youth. We also host events and conferences in Whitehorse that foster creativity and culture. Everything we do is about helping youth to develop confidence, skills, openness, and a sense of belonging.
Our Mission: BYTE creates spaces for Northern youth to lead. We do this through facilitating interactive workshops and opportunities for youth.
Our Vision: Northern youth have developed their strengths and skills to lead happy, healthy, and meaningful lives. Youth are heard and respected in their communities and are creating positive change.
1. BYTE is for youth, by youth.
2. We are northern and focus on the Yukon and the North.
3. We meet youth where they are at without judgement.
4. We recognize Northern youth have unique skills and strengths.
5. We strive to be relevant to youth. We are innovative and believe in constant learning and adaptation.
6. We believe in championing youth voices.
7. We believe in inclusivity. Equity, equality and social justice are important to us.
8. We believe in the importance of healthy relationships, including relationships with ourselves, Northern youth, communities and each other.
9. We believe in the ongoing recognition of Indigenous rights, lands, knowledge, perspectives and experiences.
10. We strive for transparency.
11. We practice financial and environmental sustainability.
BYTE – Empowering Youth respectfully acknowledges that we are situated on the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch‘än Council and we will acknowledge the Traditional Territories when we travel to northern regions.
In 1998, Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE) was founded by the late Nicole Edwards out of Yukon’s need to have a organization with youth ideas, plans, and initiatives at its core. Supported by the PAYY Coalition (Positive Action with Yukon Youth), a group of energetic youth decided to put together the first Yukon Youth Conference. It was a major success. The group reassembled later in the spring to form BYTE to plan for more conferences and to publish copies of Toxic Blend, a ‘zine made by and for Yukon youth. Since day one, BYTE has been an organization that is driven by and for youth in the North and one that celebrates their talents!
After several years of organizing successful Yukon Youth Conferences, we started to turn our attention to youth who weren’t making it to Whitehorse for the conference and in 2007 Community Tours were born! Community tours still make up the most important part of what we do today: bringing relevant programming to youth in their communities and truly meeting them where they are at! To do this, we regularly poll Yukon youth on what issues they face, want to learn more about and take action on. Then we create programming surrounding these outcomes. We regularly survey Yukon youth on what issues they face, want to learn more about and take action on. Then we create programming surrounding these outcomes.
In recent years, the BYTE staff team has created experiential workshops ranging from safer partying to healthy relationships, we have recruited and trained an on-call youth facilitation team to deliver the workshops in schools and rural youth centres in the Yukon, Northern B.C. and the Northwest Territories and we are always looking to add new, exciting workshops to our roster!
In 2015, we made another big change and we changed our name from Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE) to BYTE – Empowering Youth Society! The change not only reflects some of the new things the organization was doing but also honours that the young people who make up this organization and the young people we work with don’t need to be brought anywhere – we are already where we need to be! At BYTE – Empowering Youth Society we aim to give youth space for their ideas, passions and to practice the skills and strengths they already have.
Lastly, as we come up on celebrating 25 years of BYTE, we want to recognize all the energetic, enthusiastic youth who have shaped and directed the organization. We have been lucky to have so many talented and passionate individuals work here. Each staff offers a new set of skills which allows us to reach out and connect with a larger number of Yukon youth. Each staff has also brought new and exciting projects and workshops to our organization such as MOVE!, Leaders in Training and This is Our Arctic. We can’t to see what the next 25 years bring!
Board of Directors
BYTE is privileged to have a diverse and experienced Board of Directors, who provide valuable guidance to the organization. It includes experienced youth-workers, professionals and young people from the Whitehorse community.
Our 2023-24 Board members are:
Véronique Maggiore – Co-Chair
Taylor Roch – Co-Chair
Karine Potvin – Treasurer
Jenna Wyers – Secretary
Robin Mennell – Director
Sarbjeet Kaur – Director
A core value of BYTE is transparency. Therefore, we have set up this page to provide access to important information about the organization.
BYTE is a Registered Charity and therefore, detailed information about BYTE’s finances are available via the Canadian Revenue Agencies website.
Each year, BDO Canada performs a detailed review of BYTE’s financial reporting. You can view these reports here:
BYTE has recently produced a new set of by-laws, and these have been finalized through a vote at the General Meeting on June 29, 2022. You can take a look at those by-laws here.