Alberta’s Young Volunteers and the Action Generation Residency
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Each year in August, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity hosts a residency in partnership with the Alberta Youth VOLUNTEER! organization called the Action Generation Residency. It’s a residency that uses unconventional methods to inspire Alberta’s young volunteers to redefine traditional concepts of leadership.
The residency takes place in late August and is comprised of four days and three nights filled with fun workshops and seminars, games, arts activities, and outdoor sessions. The goal of each activity is to support the group to take risks, break down barriers to creative thinking, and to work collaboratively to solve problems in unusual situations.
“Trying to problem solve in creative ways and being ready to risk and fail, and learn from your failures is such an essential tool,” says Emmanuel Osahor, an Alberta artist, volunteer, and participant in the 2014 Action Generation Residency.
Twenty-five participants aged 18-29 from all over Alberta are fully funded by AYV to attend the program.
“We really work on creating a diverse group for the residency. This last year we sponsored three youth from iHuman Youth Society [an organization run out of Edmonton that works with high risk youth, engaging them with art-based programming],” says Julia McGarvey, executive director of AYV. “These youth were all stable and looking to begin moving forward with their lives. The appreciation, wonder and enthusiasm they brought was incredible. It really added excitement and a whole new perspective…the positive impact was evident for the whole group.”
Many of the youth who have participated in this residency have gone on to start their own non-profits, all have brought leadership skills back to their workplaces and communities, and two have joined the Alberta Youth VOLUNTEER! board of directors.
Another interesting outcome of the creative think-tank that happens at this residency is idea for an app which will use location services to identify and connect youth all over the province with volunteering opportunities in their area.
“This is certainly rolling along, and is something we are so excited about,” says McGarvey. When the app is complete, youth volunteers and the organizations who need volunteer help will have an easy, direct way to connect with each other. The app is still in the development stage and will likely launch toward the end of 2015. Stay tuned!