Organizers of the upcoming IDEASfest in Penticton say that being a youth in Penticton is not always easy.
“On the surface Penticton is a shiny penny with new infrastructure everywhere. Wealthy retirees from all over the country come here and keep real estate values high while good paying jobs are tough to come by,” reads their release promoting the youth event. Penticton, it adds, is in the top 10 towns in B.C. for child poverty with the average working income well below the provincial average, according to a Community Foundation of the South Okanagan report.
“As a result, Penticton’s youth feel marginalized and feel there is a lack of community resources dedicated to them.”
The IDEASfest concept hopes to change that. The organizers, which include Bruce Johnson, Nikos Theodosakis, Hugh McClelland and Milton Orris along with Claire Ellis, a grade 12 student from Princess Margaret, feel it is important to empower the youth to be able to create real change in their communities with realistic goals and clear messages.
“The goal of the IDEASfest For Youth is have these students go back to their schools and communities and start to make the changes they want to see. There is a power to bringing together like-minded students and they can start to network for change as well.” said Orris.
Sandra Richardson, a leadership instructor at Princess Margaret, where Orris recently gave a talk, said the event is a positive move.
“I think it’s a really excellent way for the community to support the initiative of young people and to recognize the potential leadership that young people in our community have,” she said. “The key to all of it is what happens afterward … making sure that if the young people have a good idea, there needs to be followup. There needs to be follow up in their leadership classes back in school or there needs to be follow up with people in the community.”
Though lack of followup is often a weakness of similar events, Richardson said she has confidence in the group of community leaders that is organizing this event.
IDEASfest for Youth is on April 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lakeside Resort, running parallel to TEDx Penticton.
The two events will cross pollinate, with some TEDx speakers addressing the youth and at the end of the day the IDEASfest students are making the last TEDx talk, which will be streamed live around the world and filmed for future publication.
The IDEASfest day is in three parts, starting with a lesson in storyboarding from Theodosakis, an experienced filmmaker.
“Filmmakers use storyboards as a way to articulate, plan and execute their vision for their films, but storyboards are also extremely effective in executing visions for business, career and personal life plans,” Theodosakis said.
The storyboard session will be followed by a series of presenters on improving your happiness index. The youth will learn about yoga, meditation, laughter and other tools along with another workshop around gratitude.
“Students, like anyone else, can get stressed out by what goes on in their world. Part of IdeasFest is about students focusing on what they want to make better, and exploring practical concepts they can use to create achievable solutions,” said McClelland, a laughter yoga leader.
The day culminates with a section on creating change, focusing on issues affecting local youth, with facilitators guiding students through the process to make a presentation or video for the TEDx conference.
IDEASfest is a free event. For information or to register, visit www.ideasfestok.com or ask for registration forms at any school office.