GEN7 Messengers are Aboriginal youth between the ages of 18 to 29 who may be high performance athletes or physically active leaders. They are recruited, interviewed and selected based on a broad range of criteria which includes such attributes as: connection and awareness of their own culture, understanding of the history of Aboriginal people in Canada, involvement in sport and physical activity, commitment to living healthy lifestyles, leadership skills and ability to connect with their peers. Once they have been accepted to the program, GEN7 Messengers undergo an extensive training session which includes sessions on public speaking, cultural sensitivity, goal setting, program planning, conflict management, suicide prevention and community mapping. This training is instrumental in ensuring that the Messengers have the tools they need to work with communities and youth in a meaningful and effective manner.
After their training has been completed and their final assessment has been accepted, the GEN7 Messengers are matched with a community in their geographic region. The community may not be of the same heritage as the Messenger (such as an Ojibway Messenger with an Ojibway community) which is why the cultural sensitivity training is important. GEN7 Messengers visit a community multiple times for a full day each time, over a period of 9-12 months, and work with youth to set realistic short-term and long-term goals for themselves as individuals and for their community.