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Skills and insight gained at Red Cross youth symposium

As part of the Canadian Red Cross Healthy Youth Relationships curriculum, Saskatchewan runs two youth symposiums with the goal of empowering youth with leadership skills so that they are better equipped to serve their schools and communities.

We caught up with 14-year-old Olivia Scrimshaw, a student at Saskatoon’s City Park School to find out what the symposium meant to her.

14-year-old Olivia Scrimshaw, a student at Saskatoon’s City Park Collegiate, who attended the youth symposiumRed Cross: Why did you want to participate in the Red Cross Youth Symposium?

Olivia Scrimshaw: It is important for me to learn leadership skills as a young person so once I get older I will already have tools under my belt. I hope that I can help fellow young people become aware and involved in topics and issues, and I felt as though this symposium could give me strength to do this more effectively and strategically.

RC: What is the most important thing you learned at the symposium?

OS: The symposium has given me useful tools that I can utilize in everyday life. The most important thing we learned was about healthy and effective communication. In many instances, the connection between what we need and what we say is quite different. Robust communication is an important thing that most people really have trouble developing or using efficiently in a healthy and direct way.

RC: What was your favourite part of the symposium?

OS: One of my favourite parts of the symposium was the connection my group had for each other and the environment as a whole. I left the symposium feeling different about myself and how I would approach certain social situations in the future. The environment was extremely welcoming, and I very much enjoyed listening to the presenters; they were perfect representations of what you can do with strength, an open mind and strong leadership.

RC: How do you think this symposium will change your school environment?

OS: We enhanced skills while we were there that are important in having a healthy and happy school environment. The 17 people we brought from our school now have the job to share it with the rest of our classmates and school. The lessons we learned will be even more effective if everyone can work towards the goal together.

RC: What words of wisdom do you have for students struggling with unhealthy relationships?

OS: Words of wisdom I would give to students struggling with unhealthy relationships would be to make yourself the number one priority, and do things that make you feel happy. Know your worth. Everyone deserves to feel good in every kind of relationship they are in. It’s sometimes difficult for youth to cut off unhealthy relationships because every wants and needs friends, so cutting off unhealthy relationships can be difficult. When youth are struggling with relationships they should lean on their family and their other supporters in their lives to help them get through difficult times. Almost one hundred percent of the time, our reality today isn’t what it will be in the future. Make good decisions, and live for yourself.

See more information, tips and resources on healthy relationships and empowerment for youth here
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