WINNIPEG -- The co-founder of the Bear Can Patrol is heading to Abu Dhabi to speak at a United Nations forum.

James Favel is presenting at a roundtable on Feb. 12 at the World Urban Forum. He said the event is 2.5 hours and each speaker is allotted five minutes to present, with the rest of the time set aside for discussion.

“It’s the biggest thing that I’ve been asked to do so far,” he said.


Favel said the forum initially reached out to two other people in Alberta to take part, but both were unable to go. But the second person asked, who works with the Sage Clan in Lethbridge, Alta., put Favel’s name forward as a possible roundtable participant.

“Saturday around 1 o’clock in the afternoon I got an email from them offering the invitation,” he said.


Favel said he’s hoping to convey the significance of the Bear Clan Patrol in the community, and also spark some international interest in the program.

“I’ve got five minutes to convey all the important aspects of the work that we’re doing here in Winnipeg and how it’s impacting our community,” he said.

“Talking about the cultural implications of what we’re doing and yeah, there’s so much to cover and I’ve only got five minutes to cover it.”

He said speaking at the forum is “nerve-wracking” because he doesn’t consider himself an expert in anything.

“I’m doing what I’m doing because it seems to be working and to be in a position where people are looking to me for expert advice, it’s still kind of a little intimidating.”


Favel said when he co-founded the Bear Clan Patrol in September 2014 he didn’t know if there’d be a next week, let alone a future taking part in a UN forum.

“To be here five and a half years later and having grown the way we have, exponentially, and the new services that we’re providing and the relationships that are being developed, it’s just amazing what’s happened.”

He said he’s trying to bring back the sense of community that he felt as a kid.

“It’s not rocket science. It’s just people caring about people.”

- With files from CTV's Renee Rodgers