Scw’exmx Child and Family Services Society (SCFSS) are collaborating with the different organizations in the Nicola Valley to host a women’s conference this coming March. The conference will provide the women and LGBTQ+ members of the community with resources available to them, from health to business and more. 

The Circle of Sisters+ women’s conference is a three day event taking place in NVIT, on March 3-5. SCFSS is collaborating with many organizations to give women a 360 service, ranging from resources in health and wellness, to learning about entrepreneurship from local women in business.

Ally and Emily run Scw’exmx Child and Family Services Society’s women’s group. During their meetings, the ladies have received a great deal of feedback from the women, suggesting that they should put a conference together. 

“Emily and I hashed out an idea for a conference that we put forward to our managers,” Ally explained. “They were in full support of the idea. As we kept developing it, we were requested to collaborate with the other agencies in Merritt. Our little idea that came from our women’s group really escalated to what is now the Circle of Sisters+ conference.” 

2023 Circle of Sisters+ conference. Poster/SCFSS

Happening on March 3-5, the event will take place close to International Women’s Day on March 8. The organizers say that this is a very blessed coincidence.

“This event just happened at the right time,” said Ally. “I think when we were at our planning stage, we came across it and thought it was fantastic. However, the dates and times we chose for the event was to accommodate for the women that will attend the conference.” 

The conference is open to all the women of the Nicola Valley, as well as to members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“We want to be really inclusive to our LGBTQ+ people and welcome them into the circle,” said Ally. 

“There is a lot of Indigenous content featured here and we feel that it’s important for our non-Indigenous community members to participate in them. I would say 95 percent of the women facilitating the event are all from the Nicola Valley. That’s a really important thing we promote. It’s been a huge passion for us to support and promote our local people.”

SCFSS collaborated with the following organizations to put together the event: 

  • Community Futures Nicola Valley
  • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
  • Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly
  • Scw’exmx Child and Family Services Society
  • Nlakapamux Health Services
  • Nicola Valley & District Metis Society
  • Conayt Friendship Society
  • Scw’exmx Community Health Services
  • B.C. Society of Transition Houses
  • Aboriginal Justice
  • Merritt Community Policing Office

“We’ve got some really awesome opportunities through all this collaborations between the different agencies,” Ally explained. “We’re really hoping for about 200 people to attend for each day of the conference.” 

The conference will be utilizing eight classrooms from NVIT, as well as its lecture theatre and gymnasium. 

“We have hair braiders coming in, a tarot card reader, reflexology, horticulture, and a lot of educational workshops as well,” said Emily. 

“The workshops will cover women in industry, entrepreneur information, and we even have a talixast, a cultural based workshop.”

The conference is the first annual women’s conference hosted collaboratively by the different agencies. It is also the first women’s conference done by SCFSS since the COVID-19 lockdowns took place. To celebrate the occasion, a dinner dance will also be hosted for the registered attendees on the evening of March 4.  

“We want to have some fun to go along with all the different opportunities and learning,” said Ally. “We’re inviting the women to bring their families in. Bring their kids, bring their husbands, bring their granny, let’s all have some fun!” To register for the conference, please fill out the form in the following link: