Preparing Niagara’s youth for the future
It’s a student-created and student-run conference for students.
And it continues to grow each year, with new sessions aimed at helping teenagers continue to develop the skills needed, but not necessarily taught in classrooms, to succeed now and in the future.
The Niagara Falls Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee is organizing the third annual Niagara Student Summit, scheduled to take place Oct. 11 at Brock University.
“The purpose really is to provide resources and skills that you can’t learn in school, so soft skills that we don’t get taught,” said Erica George, a member of the committee and co-chair of its youth voice subcommittee planning the summit.
She said the summit is open to all high-school students across Niagara, and will allow participants to collaborate with like-minded students, and meet and hear from speakers who are experts in various fields.
The summit will feature four sessions. Each session will include seven or eight topics, and those who register for the summit get to choose their first and second choice for each session.
The keynote speaker will be Eric Woelfl, a rower who represented Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games, as well as at several world championships and Pan American Games.
Mayor Jim Diodati will be the summit’s closing speaker.
It costs $20 to register for the summit, which includes lunch and parking. Registration opens Friday and closes Sept. 29.
To register, and for more information, visit discover.brocku.ca./niagara-student-summit.
George said one of the many interesting topics will be about the importance of face to face interactions.
“One of the sessions is ... how to talk one to one - eye contact, how to present yourself in front of an audience, rather than just having an online profile,” she said.
Beth Angle, a staff liaison with the committee, said the soft-skills presence in the summit was driven by the youth.
“It was them saying, ‘yeah, we need to be able to talk to people, we need to be able to interact and make a difference,’” she said.
George said the goal is to attract 400 high-school students to the summit this year.
She said although Angle has helped to organize the summit, she “lets (the youth) kind of take the lead.”
“We get to pick our session topics, timing, what we want to provide for lunch, etc., so our small subcommittee, we would make all of the decisions, and then we would run it by all of MYAC as a whole, and by Beth as well.”
Angle said it’s the committee members who run the summit.
“They do all the speaking, introducing, helping with registration in the morning. I’m more behind the scenes, making sure to connect with speakers that will run these workshops.”
She said the summit benefits both members of the committee, as well as the attending high-school students.
“Our first group who sort of created this concept and pushed it forward, what a sense of accomplishment that they could do this for other students, and seeing it happen,” said Angle.
“They develop so many skills as they were doing it – corresponding with Brock University, and speaking with workshop leaders. For the students who come, there’s a bunch of different (benefits). One, even just exposure to being on a campus, being more comfortable there. They’ll build some confidence, and some skills.”
Erica George, a high school student at A.N. Myer, is part of the Niagara Falls Mayor's Youth Advisory Committee that is organizing this year's Niagara Student Summit to be held Oct. 11 at Brock University.