After two years of anxiety and near-isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Albert’s youth are finally returning to relatively normal routines.
Within the past couple of years, the St. Albert Amplify Youth Advisory Committee has witnessed many of its members retiring. The Amplify committee is now putting out a call to arts-oriented youth as young as Grade 7 and up to 21 years old to consider filling the vacancies.
The committee was struck up in 2013, giving city youth the opportunity to share their vision, hopes and dreams in the arts. The youth-driven arts planners not only advised on the artistic needs of emerging youth artists, they also programmed, marketed and executed events. The overall aim was to create a more inclusive, respectful world through art.
Since 2014, Amplify has hosted a diverse series of activities and events. They include seven festivals, Ted-Talk nights, three evening art walks, a fashion show, a film festival, open-mic nights and acoustic concerts. As part of the mix, they have also created and published an anthology of youth art and a cookbook.
Ash Halinda, a guitarist with The Ampliflies, joined the committee in 2020, but after a two-year commitment is one of the members leaving a vacancy.
“I joined because I wanted to create more opportunities for others and it was so much fun when I participated,” said Halinda. “There were a lot of learning opportunities gained from Amplify and it was a good way to get your foot in the door as an artist. You learn so many new skills that can be applied anywhere.”
Among the 2018 Paul Kane High graduate’s newly developed skills were event planning, networking, photography, promotion and how to organize gigs.
“I started an online podcast program, learned about social media, organized a cookbook launch and worked on Illuminate. It was a big project that relied on teamwork — arranging which bands play outside, organizing gear and decorating the park with lights.”
Community cultural coordinator Kathleen Bell, the committee’s city liaison since the outset, is determined to create an environment where youth come together, voice opinions and see their ideas grow to fruition.
“Kids want to have an impact. They want to see an idea come to life and feel it is valued. They want to feel they can contribute to the community. They present high-level ideas, but in the last nine years, those ideas have shifted over time,” said Bell.
Currently, Amplify focuses on promoting music, visual arts, writing and film. When the opportunity arises, it also includes dance and circus arts.
“By joining Amplify, youth will elevate their skills. We develop leadership skills, confidence, problem-solving skills, communication skills, negotiation, public speaking, social media, marketing and talking to the media.”
Halinda adds that working on the committee has always felt similar to a group of friends hanging out.
“If anyone thinks of joining, at least check it out and see if it’s your thing. Even if you’re not an artist and just have a passion for leadership, it’s a great opportunity,” Halinda said.
The deadline to apply is Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. The first meeting of the New Year will be held Thursday, Jan. 12 at St. Albert Place. Apply online at https://stalbert.ca/exp/amplify/join/.