Let me introduce myself. My name is Adam Broniewski, and I am the project manager for Quo Vadis Calgary 2012: Integration. I will be upfront with you and say that I have never attended a Quo Vadis Conference. I have been involved with the Polish Students’ Club (PSC) in Calgary, Alberta as President from 2008 – 2011, and in that time, we have built a great base of support and led many awesome initiatives.
When Natalia Dmuchowska approached me with the idea of hosting Quo Vadis in Calgary I jumped at the opportunity. What a great way to build on the momentum we have already achieved. I felt I had the experience necessary to run a conference successfully, but I had no idea what it would require of me.
Since getting involved in the conference, I have had to ask myself many questions: What does it mean to be Polish-Canadian? What kinds of challenges do young people of Polish decent face in our community? How can we overcome these challenges? So many questions… so few answers! Having a lot of our initial work done, it is now time to think about the topics and discussions we will be having at the conference.
The biggest issue I think needs to be addressed is the obvious lack of participation of young people in established Polish-Canadian organizations. From my experience with PSC in Calgary, these groups have always asked us to be more involved and engaged in their initiatives. It was difficult for me to do get involved however, as I could not find anything worthwhile they do. I asked myself, “what’s in it for me?” and sadly, I was not able to come up with a good answer. Established organizations in our community do not communicate in a way that works for the younger population. Frankly, I don’t even know what these organizations do! These organizations are running our Polish Community Halls, and have a huge budget, but are they asking themselves any questions of deeper meaning? Are they trying to propagate Polish Traditions? Language? Values? Is there any unity among Polish organizations like Polish School, Polish Students’ Clubs, Combatants Associations, and dance groups? There need to be some serious restructuring of these organizations, and the best place to start is by inspiring the next generation of leaders by talking about how best to integrate into these established organizations. Not only do we need to discuss how to get involved, but how best to integrate these different groups among each other.
So there you have it. These are the issues that I want to tackle at the conference. What kind of issues are you guys dealing with in your communities? What topics would you like to discuss at the conference? What is the best way to integrate into these organizations?