Leadership conference inspires

Event at Yale brings together students from across B.C. together

Students get off their seat during Phil Botye's keynote speech at the BCSLC event on Friday.

Yale Secondary was the youth leadership capital of the province all weekend long as the British Columbia Student Leadership Conference came to Abbotsford for the first time ever.

Hundreds of students from across the province took in several keynote speakers, classroom sessions and activities.

It all kicked off on Thursday with opening ceremonies, and students then hit the classroom and heard from keynote speakers on Friday morning.

Keynote speaker Phil Botye opened the conference on Friday morning with a 90-minute interactive speech about school culture. Botye got students to engage in several culture-building activities and offered words on his experiences.

“Imagine if we could build a community at school and actually make it fun to come to school,” he said. “How cool would it be to have this type of culture in your school? What would happen if, you guys as leaders, broke those walls down in your school?”

Botye said mistakes are a reality of life and that he believes failing means “first attempt in learning.”

Following Botye’s speech, students attended sessions located in classrooms on a variety of leadership-based topics. After lunch, there were two more 75-minute sessions, and then keynote speaker Fred Fox, before students had dinner at the Sikh Temple and went swimming and skating at the Abbotsford Recreation Centre.

Tom Yonge was Saturday’s keynote speaker, and students had two more classroom sessions, along with a dance. Closing ceremonies for the event occurred Sunday morning.

Yale students Victoria Baranowski, Sydnee Piers and Shelby Johnston were all spirit leaders at the event, which meant helping the hundreds of visitors find their way around the school, and help out in any way. The trio said it was exciting to help host the event.

“It’s been really cool to meet people from all over the province who share my same passion of leadership,” Baranoswki said. “We went to CSLC, the one for students all across Canada, and this is the same experience but just with a smaller group.”

The students were able to participate in all the sessions and events, and Piers said visiting the Sikh Temple was a highlight.

“It was super cool because I’ve always seen the building and wanted to go in there and we got to learn more about the culture and religion and everything in there,” she said. “The individual workshops were also really good.”

Johnston said Botye’s keynote speech was a highlight.

“I like the connections that he forces on people; you had to go to talk to others you really had no choice,” she said.

The trio of Grade 11 students said school spirit is strong at Yale but that these types of conference can spark new ideas to improve.

“It’s inspiring everyone,” Johnston said. “It’s almost a wake-up call because it’s October and the start of a new year. It’s helped to give us new ideas and makes us not want to be lazy.”

“Instead of getting stuck in the same routine you can kind of refresh what you’re doing in leadership,” Piers added.

Fore more information on the event, visit bcslc2015.com.

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