Rossland’s Youth Week kicked off with a night of entertainment and thoughts on giving back.
The third annual RED Talks, hosted by students from the Seven Summits Centre for Learning, took place at the Old Fire Hall on Friday night. The theme of the talks was “Giving Back.”
The evening opened with a musical performance and proceeded with talks from both youth and adults.
Devin Knox, an early graduate from Seven Summits, talked about her Me to We trip to India, where she helped with construction on a new school building. When she returned to Rossland, Knox also helped start Me to We Rossland, which raised money for the Wins Transition House in Trail with a We Are Silent event in November, for the West Kootenay Friends of Refugees with gift wrapping in December and for Cicada Place in Nelson with a camp out in Harry Lefevre Square in January.
Me to We members aren’t the only youth in Rossland working to strengthen their community.
Natasha Robine and Sylvie Bedard, in Grade 9 and 8 respectively, presented their plan to make Rossland plastic bag free by 2020. The first phase of their plan is to get rid of plastic shopping bags by the end of 2017.
“Really the main part of [the first phase] is to get the rest of the community on board,” explained Robine.
“We’ve talk to businesses all down the main street and most of them seem pretty supportive of it,” said Bedard.
They’ve also sent a letter to the City of Rossland about introducing a bylaw in support of their plan and received the response that they needed to be able to show community support for the initiative, so they’ve started a petition, which can be found at businesses around town.
The girls are proposing that businesses switch to paper bags or boxes for customers who don’t bring their own cloth bags to shop. They plan on talking to other businesses that are already plastic bag free, like the Kootenay Co-op in Nelson and Trader Joe’s in the US, about how Rossland businesses can make the switch. They also hope that some stores will offer cheap cloth bags for consumers.
The second part of the plan calls for Rosslanders to cut out other types of plastic bags, like sandwich bags, produce bags and garbage bags.
When asked about the challenge of getting rid of garbage bags in a community that doesn’t use garbage cans, Robine answered, “That’s definitely why we gave ourselves three years for that part, because it is going to take a lot more time and pushiness to do it.”
“And that’s also why we split it into two different steps,” added Bedard. “So that we can complete the first step, and even if the second step is harder and even if it doesn’t work, we’ll have done the first step, which will help a lot.”
The evening showcased not only the work youth are doing in the community, but also their creative talents. Four youth —Chase Cancilla, Autumn Terwoort, Logan Nesbitt, and Yanis Canyr — took part in an Art Off, where they had 15 minutes to depict happiness. The result was four great pieces of art.