Being engaged, specifically community engagement is an important concept to understand, and to live out.
Every since a young age, my parents and guardians have taught me the importance of giving back – to the place I call home. It wasn’t until I was 10 that I grasped the meaning of making a difference, and how small acts of kindnesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. It’s important to note that, age does not matter when it comes to creating sustainable change in your community. In fact, our community, our world will not change if ‘WE’ don’t do anything about it.
Being engaged, specifically community engagement is an important concept to understand, and to live out. What does this mean? Community engagement can be defined as: acts of perusing happiness with the goal of building a better place to live in. No one wants to live in a city where their future is uncertain or tarnished. On that note, there are many organizations in the city that are not only improving the lives of citizens, but also promoting the act of simply doing good. An example of this is a youth for youth non-profit called, Camp We Empower.
Here’s Camp W.E.’s story: On a sunny Sunday afternoon, two friends were heading home after a long weekend filled with conferences and workshops. They were talking about how together WE can make a difference. If WE want our future’s to look brighter, WE have to train the youth of today to be strong leaders and citizens. On that sunny Sunday, the foundation of Camp W.E. was formed. It has been four years of Camp We and seven years of friendship, and they have never looked back.
Camp We Empower is a leadership camp aimed to empower the next generation, through giving students in grades eight to 12 the tools needed in order to thrive in our community, while making a positive difference. During this four day, three night camp, students are geared to participating in: skill building life workshops, community guest speakers, and are partnered with a life mentor. Camp We Empower believes that change does truly start with us, and we need to be inspiring ourselves to empower the next generation. This camp has been running for four years, and has not only grown by population, but has made a positive difference in lives of more than 100 teens.
This youth for youth initiative is not just a camp, it has also opened up themed workshops that include: leadership and social justice, community engagement, STEM for STEAM, and leadership with music. Besides offering workshops all over the world, Camp We also hosts a program called community 101 – a monthly event held on every fourth Saturday of the month in Surrey. This is where a guest speaker is invited from the community, to give a TED talk and debrief afterwards. With Camp We Empower being one of the few youth for youth non-profits in Canada, it hopes to keep empowering the next generation to do good – both locally and globally.
One of my greatest accomplishments is being able to found this non-profit, and inspire the next generation to do good, through Camp We Empower. This is just the start for our organization, and this is just the beginning for myself. I believe in the power of community, and the power of making a positive difference in the lives of others. I hope, as our Camp We Empower journey continues, others will join our movement in igniting more sparks within the leaders of today and tomorrow. Check out our website for how you can get involved: www.campweempower.net
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rochelle Prasad is a third year SFU Political Science and Education student and is pursuing a career with the United Nations. She is the founder of a youth for youth non-profit called Camp We Empower.