Drum­mer urges Amherst stu­dents to chan­nel power of pos­i­tiv­ity Life advice from a Crash Test Dummy

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - By Christo­pher Good­ing To learn more about Dorge’s work, visit www.mitch­dorge.com. christo­pher.good­ing@amher­st­news.ca Twit­ter: @ADNchris

Mitch Dorge is no dummy. He puts the weight of a suc­cess­ful mu­sic ca­reer be­hind his mes­sage to to­day’s youth: pos­i­tive action and mak­ing in­formed de­ci­sions.

Drum­mer for the Canadian rock band the Crash Test Dum­mies, Dorge is also a mo­ti­va­tional speaker. Thanks to the sup­port of The Co­op­er­a­tors, Dorge shared his story and in­sights with stu­dents at Amherst Re­gional High on Nov. 28, pri­mar­ily Grade 12 stu­dents about to em­bark on a new chap­ter in their lives af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

Dorge en­cour­aged the stu­dents to pur­sue what they like and em­brace pos­i­tiv­ity as the jour­ney un­folds. Be­ing pos­i­tive is some­thing that has opened more doors for him, some­thing he had not no­ticed un­til it was pointed out to him.

“I started notic­ing other peo­ple in other pro­fes­sions who are gen­er­ally not happy do­ing what they are do­ing and I used to think ‘Wow, man. Life is too short to not be happy,’” Dorge said. “I was too busy with my own ca­reer to do any­thing about it but af­ter hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with Ellen (Reid, Crash Test Dum­mies vo­cal­ist and pi­anist) I took it upon my­self to see how I could make the world a hap­pier place.”

The teenager ex­te­rior can be a dif­fi­cult per­son­al­ity to bring out of its shell, but by us­ing in­ter­ac­tive hu­mour Dorge turned the au­di­ence who mum­bled through a morn­ing hello into a merry band of per­form­ers, get­ting hearty laughs from their peers and one another. In­tense pos­i­tiv­ity, Dorge said, is not for ev­ery­one but any pos­i­tiv­ity is a step in the right di­rec­tion and is much more pro­duc­tive.

Dorge shared how his own pos­i­tive na­ture landed him jobs, helped him take ad­van­tage of op­por­tu­ni­ties and turned into the full-time gig he is known for around the world. Chan­nel­ing pos­i­tive en­ergy, Dorge said, is much eas­ier than many re­al­ize.

“When you want pos­i­tive en­ergy from peo­ple all you need to do is one of two things. Ei­ther, A, just ask or, B, push the right but­tons… if ev­ery­body gave 100 per cent, most of the prob­lems in

this world would be done. They would be over. But it’s be­cause peo­ple chose to not get in­volved — be­cause peo­ple chose to be stand­bys — crazy things hap­pen,” Dorge said.

In the sec­ond in­stall­ment of Dorge’s pre­sen­ta­tion, the per­cus­sion­ist ap­pealed to the stu­dent’s senses. Al­co­hol and drugs are a re­al­ity

stu­dents will or al­ready have en­coun­tered. Rather than de­liver the pro­hi­bi­tion-laden ‘Just say no’ mes­sage of the 1980s, Dorge in­stead en­cour­aged stu­dents to be in­formed and con­tinue be­ing in­formed. With the world con­nected by the In­ter­net, stu­dents have ac­cess to per­sonal sto­ries. Therein, Dorge said, lies the real truths stu­dents need to know.

“Read those sto­ries. Just read some of them. Read five of them,” Dorge said. “A lot of those sto­ries are go­ing to be ‘I tried this drug, I didn’t like it.’ There is go­ing to be ‘This drug com­pletely ru­ined my life or ru­ined the life of some­body close to me.’ And there are go­ing to be some who say ‘This was the best ex­pe­ri­ence of my life.’ This is not about right or wrong, or good and bad. All I am ask­ing is if you guys hap­pen to be some­where at some point in time — most likely at a party of a bar — some­body shows up with some­thing, if you are go­ing to make a choice at least it’s go­ing to be an in­formed choice. That’s re­ally the best we can ask for.”

Dorge pro­vided copies of his own email to stu­dents so they can share their sto­ries, advice or ex­pe­ri­ences with him, as well as a copy of the Kids Help Phone num­ber and web­site.

Christo­pher Good­ing/Amherst News

Known for be­ing the man be­hind the Crash Test Dum­mies drum kit, Mitch Dorge was out front speak­ing to stu­dents at Amherst Re­gional High.

Christo­pher Good­ing/Amherst News

Us­ing in­ter­ac­tive hu­mour, mu­si­cian Mitch Dorge chan­nelled pos­i­tive en­ergy at ARHS.

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