The Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture Inc. is an organization that primarily serves to deliver a national and bilingual youth competition that is held annually in November at the Royal Agriculture Winter Fair in Toronto, as part of Youth Weekend. CYSA provides an opportunity to develop public speaking and communication skills in a public forum to express thoughts and ideas on current topics related to the agriculture and the agri-food industry. The competition originated in 1985 in honor of International Youth Year, and was originally sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Farm Credit Canada joined as a co-sponsor in 1987.
The competition includes both junior and senior age categories and is judged by bilingual communications and industry professionals from across the agriculture and agri-food sector. Cash prizes are awarded to finalists and there is significant opportunity for the competitors to have media and potential employer exposure, along with speaking engagements.
CYSA connects directly with Canadian youth and serves as an independent incorporated body. CYSA also connects with youth via government and NGOs, educational institutions, the agricultural and agri-food industry, families of youth, alumni, the Canadian public, and youth programs throughout Canada.
Objectives of the Competition
- To provide articulate young people with:
- an opportunity to develop public speaking skills
- incentives to become involved with agriculture
- a forum to express their concerns
- recognition for their skills
- To signal a commitment of sponsorships to strengthen the industry by developing future spokespersons/leaders
- To inform the urban population about agricultural issues