Hankering for heritage
Trinity Conception youth to take part in heritage forum
Newfoundland history and culture has been passed on through each generation for centuries.
But what about the youth of today? Do they care about making bread, fishing or listening to stories and traditional music? Do they want to learn about and preserve our history, culture and heritage?
The Compass spoke with three young people who are taking part in the first ever Youth Heritage Forum in St. John’s Saturday, March 7. Each has their own unique outlook on heritage and each is involved with a different community group.
Meet the youth
Jeremy Harnum is a 23-yearold from Winterton, Trinity Bay, Courtney Bowering is 21 and hails from Spaniard’s Bay, and Josh Hall-McCarthy of Bay Roberts is the youngest of the group at 18.
Harnum is heavily involved with the Winterton Wooden Boat Museum and comes from a family of fishermen.
“I love seeing the tools of the trade and hearing stories about their time spent on the water,” he told The Compass. “It’s a great learning experience whenever I get to talk to fishermen and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
Bowering learned about Newfoundland culture throughout her elementary school curriculum and even created her own board game for a heritage project. But that was just the beginning.
“In Grade 4 I started playing fiddle and I mainly play traditional music,” she explained. “It seems that every year I got older, my interest (in) Newfoundland heritage grew.”
Since elementary school, Hall-McCarthy has been interested in heritage. Last year, he started working with the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation (BRCF).
“When I worked with the BRCF, we put on shows playing and singing Newfoundland music, as well as hosting comedy plays showcasing Newfoundland humour.”
The forum will allow youth from all over the Avalon Peninsula to discuss heritage issues.
For Harnum, joining the forum is about more than just learning.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to meet with like-minded individuals and to see where other organizations are headed with their heritage conservation,” he said. “We all need to work together to preserve as much as possible.”
Harnum would like to see more people get involved with preservation of culture and history, allowing future generations to learn and experience things the same way he has been able to.
“I think it would be an absolute shame to let any of our cultural practices fall by the wayside after keeping them at hand for so many years. We need to keep in touch with our past to make positive cultural choices for our future.
Bowering was part of a heritage placement with the Spaniard’s Bay Heritage Society, and her manager informed her that the forum could be a good opportunity for her.
“I love learning about Newfoundland heritage and enjoy informing others,” she said. “There are many opportunities for (young people) to help preserve Newfoundland’s heritage and many people to guide them in the right direction.”
She too would like to see more youth involved in keeping traditions and culture alive in our province, and has advice for those who might want to take part.
“I would congratulate them on their desire to preserve Newfoundland’s heritage. I would let them know of the many ways they can get involved, such as the heritage museum, The Rooms or personal research.”
Hall-McCarthy would like to see more young people learn about heritage and history in school by making it mandatory for the elementary social stud- ies curriculum. He believes more people would be more informed, and might enjoy it as much as he does.
He wants to share his thoughts with the forum.
“The reason I signed up… it seemed like a good opportunity to get more involved with our heritage as Newfoundlanders,” he explained. “Unfortunately most people my age don’t share my interest in our heritage.”
Hall-McCarthy said there were five students with the BRCF last year, and he is concerned less and less young people are interested.
“I sincerely hope that doesn’t continue to wane,” he added.