The Canadian contingent poses for a picture in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington

The Canadian contingent poses for a picture in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington

Youth share goals across borders

Vernon students took part in the Trilateral Youth Exchange Conference and came home with ideas about making the community a better place

Anna Anderson came home from the Trilateral Youth Exchange Conference full of ideas about how she can help make her community a better place to live.

“It was a very inspirational trip and everyone learned a lot about cultural stereotypes and that even though our lives may be different in some ways, we all have the same goals, to get an education and to help others,” she said.

The Grade 11 Seaton student was chosen to take part in the exchange July 18 to Aug. 8, with two other local students, Tanner Lorenson, Grade 10, Vernon secondary, and Meranda Silva, Grade 12, Fulton. Thirty-three students from Canada, Los Calientes, Mexico and Modesto, Calif. (Vernon’s sister city) took part in the Trilateral Youth Exchange Conference.

“The first week, we spent at UCLA in Los Angeles where we attended workshops about poverty and the environment. The second week, we were in Modesto, where we helped clean a river and helped at a camp for underprivileged children. Modesto has some of the same issues as we do with water use and recycling,” said Anderson.

The third week was spent in Washington, D.C. where the students helped at a kitchen for the homeless.

“There were programs that teach people to cook so they could get jobs. It was life changing for them,” she said.

The group also visited the Canadian Embassy, Library of Commerce and went to a baseball game.

The Vernon students are working on a project to promote water conservation in the summer of 2013 which will include speaking to students in schools and a contest for gardeners.

“We learned so much about what we can do if we set our minds to it and start small. We will work on our project with mentors from the group,” said Anderson. “We are going to all keep in touch. The Mexican students want to practise English and we can access the alumni website for information. This is the only beginning.”