It was such a pleasure teaching and sharing knowledge, stories and experiences at the Indigenous Youth Career Workshop recently in the Squamish Valley. I worked with fourteen high energy Squamish Nation young people who are venturing into the world of adulting and going after what they want in life and their careers.
We had an excellent turnout thanks to SN Valley Department Head, Mara Williams who organized the event, reaching out to the community consistently months before to engage interested youth. Shout out to Nolan Rudkowsky (2018 business pitch winner) who helped to spread the word to his peers, and sincere appreciation to our Dragon's Den Judges who took time out of their busy day to judge the contest and offer great feedback to the presenters.
Age of the participants ranged from 16 through to 32 years old. They were curious, intelligent and determined; soaking up information in the areas of confidence development, goal setting, personal money management, career building and entrepreneurship. A few of them even inquired about "compound interest", which is fantastic because learning good money management skills in our earlier years makes for a much easier existence later on.
Participants were engaged and did very well in all of the interactive exercises. They shared personal stories and ignited thought-provoking conversation related to the lesson plan. I asked them to think about a time that they overcame a big obstacle and was impressed by how honest and open they were talking about different situations.
We discussed how our brains are wired to repeat learned or adopted habits and that we can train our minds for optimal thinking patterns that lead to consistent, positive behaviours building the life that we want.
They sure demonstrated their soft skills in creativity (a mandatory skill in today's tech driven economy) during the pipe cleaner contest tapping into some serious imagination and engineering/manufacturing talent!
Certificates of completion were presented for full participation and recognizing the youth's commitment to learning and developing themselves, personally and professionally, on a Saturday, no less! The prizes "may" have added to the ability of the youth to sit and learn for an entire day. LOL.
The course and lesson plan ran for 6 hours total on Saturday, July 5th from 10AM to 4:30PM with the following Wednesday from 5:30pm-7:30pm for the business pitch contest. Grand prizes (cash) were awarded to the winner and runner up.
There were two very impressive presentations by future entrepreneurs, Alicia Nahanee with her autism consulting company and Shawna Apodaca who presented on her lash services business. Both of these ladies are passionate about their topic area and it's evident they have what it takes to progress in whatever they choose to do with their careers.
Alicia's comments on the workshop were very exciting as she told me that she now believes that she can start and run her own consulting business having a better understanding of of what it takes and Shawna was equally as enthusiastic given the demand for lash extensions is not currently being filled in the valley.
Giving young people the knowledge, tools and a platform to explore their strengths and believe in themselves, including learning how to overcome challenges, manage their finances, and go after a career they can be passionate about is so fulfilling and why I love my job. Every class must conclude with a group selfie to capture the powerful energy of the day and to remember how we all came together to support the growth and progress of the Squamish Nation community.
I am excited to watch where these Squamish Nation young people go in their lives and am looking forward to working with them again to share additional business and personal development tools that will help them to reach their goals.
If your nation is thinking about how to encourage your young people to live their best lives, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-687-2004. I'd be happy to share how to begin the process of introducing training and career enhancing information to your community.