By Hannah King
Thirty years is a long time to do anything, but if it is something you are passionate about, the time flies by.
Perhaps that’s why we were pleasantly surprised when we realized this summer marks the 30th year of the City of Nanaimo parks, recreation and culture department’s youth leadership programs Leaders in Training and Quest.
Frankly, we haven’t got concrete numbers of how many youth that represents, but it is near the 3,000 mark.
With that number in mind, let’s talk a little about what it represents. It means that 3,000 Nanaimo youth were (and most likely are) truly actively engaged in our community.
During the programs, they were introduced to concepts such as group leadership, public speaking, volunteer management, event planning and how to lead younger children in a variety of activities.
These were just the hands-on skills taught. The programs helped develop the participants’ self confidence, introduced them to a new network of friends from across the community and to the concept of giving back to the community in a tangible way – tools that they carry with them today.
From our perspective, programs such as LIT and Quest need to be included in any community plan to achieve sustainability.
If we are not investing time and effort into nurturing our youth, then we are never going to be sustainable.
Without including and recognizing the talents and impact young people can have ion us, we are not achieving a true sense of community.
Youth remind us to ask the ever important question ‘why?’, they remind us to approach things with energy and enthusiasm and to live in the moment and enjoy what we are creating as a community.
There are already 50 youth signed up for the summer sessions of LIT/Quest more than a month before registration closes.
You are sure to see them around town at community events and helping with summer camps and programs this summer. When you do, we hope you’ll recognize them as contributing, valued members of our community – who happen to be having a lot of fun.
For information on the programs, please visit www.nanaimo.ca or call 250-756-5200.
Hannah King is a marketing and communication specialist with Nanaimo parks, recreation and culture.