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Thursday, 07 April 2011 10:05

Youth receive positive messages at forum

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By John R. Statton — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Kiwanis club’s second annual Youth Wellness Forum was held at the Swift Current High School Comp. March 31.

The Chinook School Division and Holy Trinity Catholic School Division sponsored the day-ong event.

“It’s generally to get kids aware of some of the issues that they deal with, in regards to activities, getting out and involved, emotional and physical wellness,” said Travis Cuthbert, organizer.

“(It includes)all types of subjects that kids don’t get taught to deal with in school.”

Students learned about making good decisions, staying out of trouble with the law, anti-bullying, cyber safety, and teen dating.

“It gives kids a forum to ask questions and learn about things that aren’t on the curriculum,” said Cuthbert.

Activities ranged from sports, music arts, and informational sessions.

 “Things that kids don’t necessarily get a chance to do, because they didn’t know they were available,” said Cuthbert.

“These are all things that take place in Swift Current, but unless you were informed you may not know about them.”

Born and raised in London, ON Andy Thibodeau has been giving motivational speeches for two decades, and was pleased with the crowd at the Comp.

“I typically do an hour, so for me to do 75 minutes with an absolutely polite crowd with high energy and big laughs, they were a perfect audience,” said Thibodeau.

He was educated as a teacher, but now performs more than 200 speaking engagements each year across Canada.

“I wanted to be a better teacher, not realizing that it would be the speaking that would take off,” he said.

“The number one thing that stops teenagers from succeeding is their own fear of failing: asking questions, answering questions, volunteering, and trying their best because they play the comparison game.”

Swift Current Provincial Judge Les Matsella, and Kiwanis club member, took time out of his day to speak with O.M. Irwin students.

“Based on my experience in court, I really don’t think that a lot of youth are aware of the consequences of getting involved in activities that are illegal, and this is an opportunity for me to be able to point these things out to kids; consequences of a drug conviction, of a shop lifting charge,” said Matsella.

“Things that kids don’t necessarily realize, because they’ve got other things to worry about, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to do that.”

Education is the best form of prevention, and Matsella was glad he was able to engage students to help them make positive decisions in their lives.

“I’m just hoping that I can make them think twice before going along with something, or doing something wrong, then it’s a good start,” he said.

“This is when they have to start making the right decisions, if they don’t learn here, and they continue making bad decisions, it’s going to get worse in high school.”

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