You could be a parent, or a teacher, an employer, a coach, or a mentor. If you’re an adult with teens in your life, there’s an event happening on Tuesday that will have a lot of relevance to the major issues that they are facing in their lives.
Interestingly, it’s the teens themselves who are doing the presenting. They’re trying to open up the floor to more dialogue between the generations.
4UBYUS is a look into many of the important things that are happening in teens’ lives outside of their curricular activities.
Jaime Kidd, 18, is one of the presenters. She was involved with BAM (Building Assets and Memories) for a few years and was fortunate enough to be part of a learning expedition in the fall of 2015 that helped prompt this event.
“We went down to Atlanta and we attended the National Forum on Character Education. This year, we decided to put on one for ourselves,” she explained.
BAM is the city-sponsored non-profit organization comprised of current and former high school students who enjoy volunteering. Everything they do is self-directed with guidance from the city’s Family and Community Support Services department as well as the local RCMP. There’s also a Junior BAM group for junior high students.
At the Atlanta conference, her eyes were opened to how to strengthen kids’ empathy, resilience and moral purpose while weakening toxic cultures in schools. The BAM group also made its own presentation.
Now, they’re bringing back a daylong conference to bring adults into the audience here to help them to help the youths in their own lives.
BAM co-ordinator Ben Huising affirmed that, while the event does involve a good number of BAM teens, it’s not a BAM event. Officially, it’s put on by the city’s Department of Community and Social Development.
“We pulled together close to 25 youths from St. Albert to put on the conference. Everything is led by and done by them.”
The day will start with an opening keynote talk on stress and mental health followed by a series of breakout sessions. Session subjects include drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, relationships, youth engagement, and social media, each involving between three and five youth presenters aged 16 to 23. There will be plenty of Q & A with members of the audience. The closing presentation will be on engaging youth and encouraging their involvement within the community.
“The purpose, from a youth’s perspective, is to talk about the challenges they face but more based around dialogue: ‘Here’s where we’re coming from. How can we bridge some of the gaps that come between what we need and what you offer or how you support us?’” Huising continued.
“It’s not telling adults what to do or how to do it but it’s more having discussions around these issues. ‘We don’t know when that line is when we need help as opposed to just having a bad week or bad day. Then that line gets crossed and we just try to handle it ourselves.’ The learning hope for adults is to walk away knowing how to better support them.”
He hopes that the adult attendees walk away with a better understanding of what youths are going through in respect to those issues.
Kidd will be involved with the session on Drugs and Alcohol as one of a panel of four presenters.
“We range from someone who did everything in high school – drugs and alcohol – and has seen it all, to someone who didn’t do anything. I’m pretty excited,” Kidd stated.
4UBYUS takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the St. Albert Inn. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by visiting www.eventbrite.ca.