If I could pick my favourite thing I did as a grade 12 co-op student at the Greater Halifax Partnership, it would have to be participating in the 2014 State of the Economy Conference on May 22nd. Not only was there a great keynote speaker and activities, but the Partnership presented a warm and welcoming environment for everyone who attended. There was plenty of delicious food, fun and interesting discussions throughout the day.
In the morning, we had a fantastic keynote speaker, Victor Hwang, who described the business world in a unique way. Victor said we should treat our community like a rainforest and let weeds (ideas) spread instead of keeping everything like a perfectly manicured front lawn. During the afternoon, groups worked together to discuss how we could improve Halifax in the next five years. My group chose me as their presenter. We spoke about engaging youth and elderly people in economic development. We suggested youth friendly activities and having young people visit nursing homes. Kids could learn from seniors while brightening their day. At youth friendly events, there would be business and economy fact booths alongside other activities.
The idea of involving younger generations really stood out to me. After pitching all of our ideas to one another, I stood up and spoke in a room full of business people, investors, and members of the community about our group’s ideas. After the activity, so many people came up to me to say how wonderful my presentation was.
They built my confidence and reminded me that people do listen to youth when they speak their minds. That was a major highlight for me. I would not hesitate to return to the State of the Economy Conference in the future or encourage other youth and the general public to attend as well.
It’s a really good opportunity for everyone to be involved in our city’s development.
Larissa Reese is a grade 12 student at Millwood High School. She completed her co-op placement at the Greater Halifax Partnership this spring.