Empowering Youth to Take the Lead

When kids have an opportunity and a connection in their community, their ideas light up, the fire starts burning, and it’s pretty hard to put it out, says Summit at the Pier co-founder Rebecca Kirstein of Stoked Youth Foundation.
And that’s just what the organizers of Summit at the Pier hope will happen at Victoria’s Ogden Point this fall. On October 1 and 2, 2016, 500 youth will gather together for two days of future-building, incubator-style sessions designed to draw out new ideas, encourage peer collaboration and foster personal growth.
Among attendees to the summit will be 50 facilitators, including policy makers, local business owners, educators, entertainers and others who want to be part of the summit’s “human library” and be catalysts for stronger communities. Special guests to the conference include TEDx speakers Sir Ken Robinson, international advisor and speaker on education, creativity and innovation, as well as Jason Roberts, arts activist and founder of the Better Block Project.
“[These students] are innovators, the change-makers, the ones who challenge the status quo,” says Jeff Hopkins, founder of the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry and co-founder of Summit at the Pier. “They have an innate drive to be all of these things, and our current education system often overlooks their need to do so and the world’s even deeper need for them to do so.”
As the Ministry of Education launches a new inquiry-based curriculum for grades K through 9 this September, Summit at the Pier gives students in grades 9 through 12 whose curriculum isn’t yet changing an opportunity to experience what inquiry-based learning is like and how it can benefit their lives.
Included in the purchase of a ticket is a membership for a year for the foundation behind the summit, which includes satellite events and places to connect online and in person for future projects that might come out of the Summit. A variety of facilitator opportunities are available for members of the community and businesses who want to share their knowledge and support for youth while providing leadership and experience.
“It’s a totally different world now and [the students] need different skills than we needed,” says Kirstein, “It’s an incredible process to watch them start to gain real confidence through learning these types of skills, learning that their future isn’t as uncertain as it feels.”