Over 850 youth from SD83 as well as other parts of B.C., Alberta, Washington, and Idaho joined together virtually for for a morning of inspiration and empowerment during Shuswap Youth Launch on February 25.
The event was created by a committee of local youth to inspire and empower their peers throughout the Shuswap to think outside the box, encourage inclusive thinking, promote mental well-being, build healthy relationships and follow their dreams. It featured inspirational talks from former NHL’er Corey Hirsch, Canadian poet/TED Talk/We Day veteran Wali Shah, author/activist/empowerment coach Ashley Bendiksen, and successful Salmon Arm entrepreneur Missy MacKintosh, founder of MisMacK Clean Cosmetics.
Sometimes, things happen for a reason. Like many others the youth launch team had to pivot their delivery method to accommodate current health guidelines. By changing to online delivery the team was able to triple the impact of the event and extend the reach to include interested youth and adults across BC, Alberta, Washington and Idaho.
The virtual 3.5 hour event included the powerhouse lineup of guest speakers along with interactive polls and a fun dance break – all offered at no charge to participants. The speakers and topics were selected by the team to address current social issues for youth aged 13 – 18, but the invite was opened up to anyone interested in joining in.
The Shuswap Launch Team of Brynn Gowen, Caillie HayVicars, Abbigail Paetsch, Claire Waite, and Mikayla Wilkinson are thrilled with the successful “launch”. Original team members also included Maggie Beckner and Dayton Massey, who were unable to continue when the event was delayed due to the pandemic.
The event was funded through an RBC Future Launch grant of $15,000 – part of a 10-year $500 million commitment to help Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. The local team is comprised of youth aged 15 – 22, and partnered with the Salmon Arm Rotary Club as team mentors, and School District 83 as their charitable organization to assist with receiving and dispersing grant funds.
“This grant provided us an amazing learning opportunity. We were able to plan, execute and deliver our event on our own terms – with only a little bit of help from the adults.” said Mikayla Wilkinson, chair of the team.
The team will be surveying those who took part for feedback and ideas as they have already have plans to move forward and do another Youth Launch next year. They’ve also caught the attention of RBC Future Launch Community Challenge program as they were identified as one of the top projects in Canada and invited to submit a grant application for $100,000.