Barbara Dude has been appointed by the Sealaska Board of Directors to serve as the Sealaska Board Youth Advisor (BYA) from June 2015 to June 2016. Barbara shares her experiences over the last few months.
I'm very excited to share my experiences of the first 5 months as the Sealaska Board Youth Advisor. I initially applied for the position because as a young shareholder I was eager to gain a better understanding of Sealaska business, and as a Social worker, I was curious to learn how Sealaska advocates for the health, well-being and cultural identity of its shareholders. As a life-long Juneau resident and active member in the community, I also feel as though my experiences allow me to represent the views of my peer group to the members of the board.
The board supported my attendance at two big events in October: the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANB/ANS) Grand Camp Convention and the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention (AFN). At the ANB/ANS Grand Camp convention, I was privileged to sit on a youth panel of my peers as well as high school students to provide insight on how to engage native youth in their organization. I was greeted with very open arms and it was powerful to leave the panel with support and encouragement in my future endeavors.
While at AFN, I learned how Southeast Alaskans works together in order to advocate for the needs of our people as well as the issues that other regions in Alaska are facing. I also had the pleasure of leading the All Nation’s Children dance group in performances at the convention and it has inspired me to make a commitment to bring some of the youth from the dance group into the convention in the future so they can start learning at a young age, how to affect change. My leadership skills have been greatly enhanced through the involvement in the dance group and my culture and I hope to share those skills with our youth.
Each Board member brings a unique background to the table. As I have participated in Board meetings, it is evident the commitment and passion the Board members have to building a better company and future for our shareholders. This is my first time being on a board of any kind, and it has been an intriguing learning experience. The Board, as well as Sealaska Management & staff have been extremely helpful and ensure that my voice is heard and I always have an opportunity to contribute.
As Board Youth Advisor, I look forward to engaging youth so they may have a richer connection to Sealaska. If you are between the ages of 18-25 and are interested in learning more about the Board Youth Advisor position, let’s start a conversation at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
At the 2015 Sealaska Annual Meeting, we asked former Board Youth Advisors to join a panel discussion. In case you missed it, click here to view.