Youth Engagement in Botwood
Amongst all of the volunteers, one teenager stood out.
Damen Keats, from Botwood Collegiate, lived just outside of Botwood in Northern Arm. We met Damen on the night of the kick-off party, where he helped with the ice candle installation on the Air Base and later played a round of pool with us at the Boys and Girls Club. Noticing that Damen was interested in the project we invited him to join us at the fire hall and encouraged him to lend a hand with the construction. Sure enough Damen took our offer and for several days he caught a ride into town to give us a hand. (We’re not sure how he convinced his Mother for permission, but we’re glad he did!) We learned a lot about Damen, and about the community through Damen’s eyes, and it was a great experience for us to understand the youth perspective. It sounds like the community has a lot of activities and programs to engage the youth in the community, and Damen is an example of its success.
On the last day of the build, we made Damen an honourary member of the Culture of Outports team. Not only did Damen teach us how to swing a hammer but he promised to keep an eye on the Viewfinder for us and assured us that other teenagers would appreciate and enjoy using it. We hope Damen gained as much from the experience as we did and we encourage him to keep getting involved, helping to build up and support his community. We have kept in touch with Damen since we’ve landed back in Toronto and hope to meet him again in the future.