Two Invermere students recently mingled with B.C.’s top politicians and professional football players as part of a youth summit in Vancouver.
Wolfgang Nicholas and Wallace Warbrick were chosen to fly to Vancouver for the BC Lions Skills for Life summit event from November 30th to December 1st. The boys, along with 120 other B.C. students, got to experience hands-on interactive demonstrations by professionals in trades such as carpentry, welding, truck driving, heavy equipment operating and even accounting. The students also took part in leadership and team building workshops with BC Lions players and heard the players give insight to the team’s anti-violence campaign. Last but not least, the Lions also hosted the students at the Grey Cup game the day before the activities began.
Both Wolfgang and Wallace had nothing but positive things to say about their experience with the program. The boys experienced many firsts, including their first time on a plane, first time on a SkyTrain, and first time seeing the ocean.
When asked what the best part of the trip was, Wallace answered, “Going to the game! I’d never really watched a lot of (football) games.”
Wolfgang agreed, saying, “I really liked going to the big stadium.”
Deb Fisher, the David Thompson Secondary School aboriginal educator who went with the boys, was impressed by the BC Lions players, and the stories of violence in their own lives that the players told to the students. The Lions, who have commercials advertising their anti-violence “Be More Than a Bystander” campaign, shared anecdotes of violence in their past that led them to put their efforts into football and end the cycle of violence in their own lives. The team made it clear their message was also about zero tolerance of violence against women, especially due to many incidents in the sports community.
The BC Lions Skills for Life Summit was a partnership between the Ministry of Education, the BC Lions and Pacific Northwest LNG. It was set up to encourage less-engaged students in Grades 6 to 9 to experience trades and leadership skills. There was a large emphasis on getting both aboriginal and female students to participate in the event, to get them more interested in skills and trades. The summit consisted of two parts, one being the “Find Your Fit” half that involved introducing trades and skills to the students, while the second was the teamwork and leadership portion of the experience. Students interacted with the Lions players in workshops and also attended a speech by Premier Christy Clark at the event. In regards to the program, Minister of Education Peter Fassbender said, “We’re trying to give young people a clear and seamless path right from school through to the workplace… the BC Lions share our commitment and they are a key partner in giving students the right kinds of opportunities.” The team presented students with experiences that gave them new views on trades and their own leadership skills, as well as the cycle of abuse, especially in the athletes’ lives. The event was well-executed and genuinely appreciated by all who attended.