It was a sea of blue shirts emblazoned with the acronym SLIC. The fourth annual Student Leadership Initiative Conference, headed up this year by Joanne Shantz and Jody Mattia, saw over two hundred enthusiastic young people and their teachers file in to Wetaskiwin’s Drill Hall on Friday, May 1, 2015.
The conference, MC’d by student leaders Brooklyn Elgert and Victoria Puddicombe who referred to themselves as, “the face of the project,” included an almost full day of activities, exercises, break out sessions and inspiration from speakers such as Dr. Billy Strean from the University of Alberta.
Schools throughout the WRPS are proactively facilitating the development of young leaders through volunteer involvement in Student Leadership Groups and Student Councils. These young people work together on local cause projects, global cause projects and challenge one another towards healthy eating, active living and creating positive social environments.
In all, the conference reflects the welcome cultural shift from simply educating young people to a higher philosophy of developing them. Though the two ideologies can, and should coexist in a symbiotic and balanced relationship, leaders have a greater chance of emerging in the newer models, both in quality and quantity.
The SLIC conference, now in its fourth year, is a highlight for these bright and energetic young people, beginning as the outflow of an AHS grant that was designed to focus on students and leadership development. The program and conference continues to thrive under passionate leadership and is currently funded by a team effort from FCSS, WRPS, Manluk, Hope Mission and Value Drug Mart.