By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The first-ever FCSS Creative Leaders Youth Conference will be held on Friday, November 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Taber Community Centre Auditorium.
“The purpose of the Creative Leaders Youth Conference is to provide youth with an opportunity to develop their leadership skills, explore their creativity, and make new friends from across the region,” Anita Wiebe, Youth Development Coordinator for Family and Community Social Services Taber, said. “The purpose of this conference is also to celebrate the many youth who already act as leaders in their communities who could be excelling in their sports teams, helping out with student council, or making friends with students who are new to town.”
The event, Wiebe says, is free to attend and is open to 60 youth who are 14-18 years of age, who reside in the FCSS service area, with 30 spots already reserved for youth who participate in FCSS’s Youth DO Crew program. The other 30 spots, Wiebe says, are available to youth who are not affiliated with FCSS, but are considered leaders in their schools, communities, or sports groups.
“We are hopeful that a peer or teacher will recognize a natural leader in their community by letting them know that they would benefit from attending the Creative Leaders Youth Conference,” Wiebe said.
Wiebe says that the Conference will feature a keynote address from Emma Morrison, the first Indigenous woman in 72 years to hold the Miss World Canada crown.
“The youth will hear from Emma Morrison about her experiences competing in international pageants and the leadership skills she has learned along the way,” Wiebe said. “Emma will also speak about her time working with Indigenous communities, promoting the importance of finding your passion and chasing your dreams.”
The youths, Wiebe says, will also be able to participate in one of three creative workshops from Skye Hepher, a local videographer/photographer, Anna Hawkins, a local artist, and Christie Saddleback, Jessica Goodrider-Loewen, and Tashina Calf Robe, local Indigenous artists, and cultural program facilitators.
“Youth will learn about the positive impacts of leadership and volunteerism for themselves and their communities, how to cultivate leadership skills in their everyday lives, and the role that creativity plays in becoming a leader,” Wiebe said. “Youth will practice their creative skills by choosing from one of three workshops that will showcase how art, creativity, culture, and leadership are all intertwined. It will be an amazing day full of fun, learning, and connection.”
The conference, Wiebe says, will also include a catered lunch and free transportation to and from the Taber Community Centre Auditorium. Wiebe says that participating youth will receive swag bags, play exciting activities, eat a delicious catered lunch, and hear from some amazing speakers. This event, Wiebe says, will be an excellent day that will provide youth with a fresh perspective on leadership with a creative twist.
“We are so excited to be bringing this conference to Taber and to the youth in our region,” Wiebe said. “We believe that the youth will learn a lot and have a great time hearing from the speakers, participating in the workshops, and connecting with one another. FCSS is hopeful that the youth will leave the day with new friends, a fresh perspective on leadership, and new skills.”
For more information about the Creative Leaders Youth Conference, contact Anita Wiebe at (587) 370-1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Jillian Boyd at (403) 332-0629 or email@example.com. Youth can also can register online: https://fcss.ca/event/creative-leaders-youth-conference-taber-community-centre/.
“This conference is definitely important,” Wiebe said. “Connecting youth to our services, knowledge, and each other will help support youth’s healthy transition towards adulthood. It will also help them to become kind and creative leaders and to continue to support their communities through leadership and volunteerism for years to come. We hope that it’s leaders like this that will come to the event and that they will leave the conference feeling recognized, appreciated, and that they learned new skills that they can take home with them.”