North Peace senior and junior high students hosted the second annual Youth Changing Tomorrow conference last week, April 14. Doing it virtually was a learning experience for the organizing committee, many of whom weren't on the committee last year, but this year's conference had a similar amount of participants and set the stage for the conference to continue and grow in the years to come.
"Given the circumstances it went pretty great. We had a lot of engagement and interaction, especially in the breakout rooms. It was definitely a learning experience but I think we got the engagement we were looking for," said committee member Owen Lang.
The virtual conference had 100 people registered, although that was a mix of individual and class sign-ups, as some teachers had their full classrooms participate. The inaugural even had 90 out of 120 registered students attend the conference.
"Doing it virtually made it possible for more people to come, which was a good thing, but it is also a much different experience not being in the same room as everyone else for the conference," said lead organizer Brianna Rogerson.
The conference, which was done over Zoom, had a wider variety of breakout sessions to choose from, and the committee noticed much more engagement between students and speakers in the smaller sessions.
"It seemed people were a lot more comfortable turning on their cameras and commenting in the smaller, breakout sessions," said Lang.
"I was room monitor for a couple of the breakout sessions and saw quite a bit of engagement, especially in the trades video," said committee member Kayden Bolin. "It was a very good experience to be a part of and I enjoyed it quite a lot."
Jessica Giesbrecht went to the conference as a participant last year, and was able to compare that to helping run the conference this year.
"I enjoyed it last year, and it was neat to be a part of it and see how everything worked. With interviewing (the speakers), it was a really cool thing to do, especially as I'm usually camera shy," said Giesbrecht.
"Jessica did really well with all her sessions, especially in her interviews," Rogerson added.
Rogerson is the lone member of the committee graduating this year. The returning students are eager to plan next year's conference and build off this one.
"I'm loving it, really happy that we were able to adapt, and depending on the situation next year hopefully we can have everyone back in the same space. But it's also good to know we're able to do an online conference if we have to," Lang said.
The conference is put on together through the city's Youth Advisory Council, the NPSS Student Body Council, and BC Student Voice. Nora Reford, Viggo Pedersen, and Molly Koponyas were on the student organizing committee as well.
Email reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org