Participants from New Brunswick participate in the delegate parade during the Canadian Student Leadership Conference outside of Yale Secondary in Abbotsford on Tuesday night. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Participants from New Brunswick participate in the delegate parade during the Canadian Student Leadership Conference outside of Yale Secondary in Abbotsford on Tuesday night. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

SLIDESHOW: Hundreds gather for Canadian Student Leadership Conference

Event in Abbotsford draws 850 students from across the nation

About 850 students from 200 schools across Canada got into the spirit of things Tuesday during the Canadian Student Leadership Conference in Abbotsford.

The event, being held at Yale Secondary, celebrated its first day with activities that included a delegate parade and opening ceremonies.

This is the first time that the national event has been held in Abbotsford since 2004, and only the fifth time it has taken place in B.C. since its inception in 1985.

The conference continues Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays with workshops – as well as a trade show on Thursday – and keynote speakers.

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These include Canadian senator Romeo Dallaire, founder of the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative; Olympic gold medallist Heather Moyse; retired professional football player Angus Reid; and Fred Fox, younger brother of Canadian icon Terry Fox.

The event concludes on Saturday with the delegates performing community service such as helping out at the food bank and cleaning local parks.

This year is the 35th annual CSLC, which began in Yorkton, Sask. in 1985, with the goal of bringing together some of Canada’s young leaders to work together and bring back positive change to their schools and communities.

Each participating school is invited to send three delegates, with a waiting list for more if space permits.

This year’s student delegates include 150 from B.C. and about 25 from Abbotsford. Another 100 youth “spirit leaders” from the community are leading the conference.

Approximately 275 teachers are also attending.

PHOTOS BY JOHN MORROW: