What does it take to reach out to the community and let your voice be heard?
A clear vision, a number of passionate willing youth, and ways to engage your audience.
Kate Maurice, the Mentor Supervisor for the Pass It On Project on Salt Spring Island had the vision – a multi-layered day of activites in a carnival atmosphere, surrounded by music with and for youth. The mentors of the Pass It On Project and some of the Respectful Relationship Youth Team were so inspired that they could participate in such an event, that they could define some of the elements, and that a day of music would be made available for them.
The foundational elements of the event called Spark Fest included:
- Activities that were appropriate for all ages
- Ways for youth to be involved in the creation and implementation
- Modeling of respectful relations
- A variety of music and musicians from both on and off the island
- A festive and celebratory mood
- Making money would be ideal but would not determine the success or failure of the event
The large Farmer’s Institute on Salt Spring Island was set up into areas of activities:
- Door prizes (sunset kayak adventure, clothing, hair salon and restaurant gift certificates, wheat free baked items, and more)
- Ball activities
- Cake walk
- Fortune telling
- Pie in the face contest
- Found art creation
- Wonderful waffles
- Bike-generated smoothie bar
- Vegetarian take out
- Main stage music venue
The day was ambitious, the optimism of the organizers and youth infectious, and the audience appreciative.
For a first annual Spark Fest fundraising event, the turnout could be described as small but mighty. Those who stayed for the final headline band, Maurice were not disappointed. For those who expended a great deal of energy in organizing and implementing this event, they learned what it is to work as a team, to conceptualize something of this magnitude, to maintain an inviting and engaging environment, and to have fun.
When asked if the low turnout would deter Kate from organizing such an event next year, her response was a resounding NO. In fact, she now knows what she will want to change and she wants to start organizing it tomorrow, so she can get a larger name band in to attract more youth. That’s passion, that’s vision and that’s what reaching out to your community is all about and finding your voice. Spark Fest 2012 here we come!
Chris Gay – Pass It On Coordinator