It’s that time again, Pontians all over including Chicago, Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Montreal, Boston and Toronto all got together for their annual youth conference in Toronto this past weekend.

By Despina Evangelopoulos

The conference is mainly for the youth of all the dance groups to get together and mingle. Every year, the experience is filled with dances, workshops, lectures, and fun. Pontian organization members from across North America, made the trip to Toronto for the three day affair that.

The first day, everyone got settled in and started getting ready for the big welcoming “mouhabet”; party that was full of people dancing. The following day featured workshops for, children and adults in a hall, where they learning about the historic homeland, Pontos. The classes featured Pontian dress history, the origins of various dances, and also the making and playing of instruments like the Lyra, which continues to be in use today, nearly 3000 years later…

Special guest instructed dance classes followed the rest of the afternoon.Everyone got together afterwards in their traditional costumes, boys and girls, ready to dance as one big dance group. Dinner was served and not only was there plenty of dancing, but there was lots of talking and getting to know people.

After all the Pontian events, there was still time to go out and explore Toronto. It was amazing to find not only plenty of Greeks already in Toronto, but an entire “Greek Town” dedicated to Greek food shops, stores, and more.

The last day, people got together and went to Toronto’s memorial for Pontos and not only danced, but sang songs that honored Pontians in the past and present. There was a goodbye “mouhabet” that was the most heartbreaking moment for all the kids.

Even though this was the last day, this was the day that everyone got to know each other, and make the most friends and bonds that endure through the years. Overall, this youth conference was one of the most fun-filled and enthusiastic trips that was attended.

This is the reason the dance groups hold these events, for the youth to learn about its roots and create lasting friendships from all over. Although the conference has ended, none of the friendships that were made are over, and the Pontian youth groups will continue to impress the public.