Former Harlem Globetrotters’ player Lefty Williams will be bringing his message of Dare 2 Dream to local youth Wednesday.
He is one of the guest speakers lined up for J. L. Crowe Secondary School’s first Youth Empowerment Summit, a half-day workshop for about 700 grades 8-11 students in Greater Trail.
“He grew up in the slums of L.A., in the ghetto there, so he’s coming to talk to the boys about empowerment, vision and to dare to dream and look beyond what you can achieve,” explained student counsellor Loretta Jones.
Many of the topics he will touch on include: substance and alcohol abuse, child abuse, HIV/AIDS, setting and achieving goals, peer education and mentorship, higher education and healthy lifestyles.
The boys, who will gather at the Crowe gym, will also hear from Daniel Vecchio on gender-based violence, abuse and the pressure for boys to conform to the unwritten code of being a male; while therapist Chris Gibson of the Take a Hike Foundation will bring an un-biased presentation on drugs and alcohol and area resident Ian Lockey, member of the Canadian Paralympic team for Sochi 2014, will engage the boys on attitude and believing in yourself.
“I’m looking at positive school climate – that’s my whole goal with this is to improve the culture and climate of J. L. Crowe,” said Jones.
The girls have lined up Kate Whitfield of FearlesslyGirl to host their workshop held at the Trail Memorial Centre’s gymnasium.
Her presentation offers leadership training for the senior girls, who mentor the younger girls throughout the inspiring and empowering workshop. It’s designed to give girls the tools to navigate pressures, expectations, mean girls, groups, cliques, friendships and the girl world fearlessly, while creating a kinder, more supportive school climate.
Grade 10 students Matthew McConnachie and James Fike and Grade 11 Andrea Bedin are among the youth who stepped up to help plan the summit, providing feedback on what subjects their peers are interested in.
Rossland’s grades 8 and 9 students will be coming down the hill to take part in the summit, which Fike hopes will diminish any false pretences the Trail high school carries.
“I was from Rossland last year and this school (Crowe) kind of has a big reputation,” he said. “For some reason in Rossland it’s made out to be kind of scary here but when you get here you realize that it’s super nice and nobody is going to bug you and there’s no bullies.”
Jones is already talking about expanding the summit to a district-wide event next year, reaching all corners of the Kootenay Columbia.
“It’s been really valuable to me to see what kids think are important and sometimes it lines up with exactly with how I think and other times I’m way off and it’s great to hear their version,” said Jones.