Sept 17: A day filled with dreams, inspiration, passion, empowered youth and lots of fun!

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” — Dr. Seuss

On September 17, we held our inaugural TEDxKids@BC event. It has been an overwhelming experience and words can't describe how we all felt at the end of the day! We worked really hard and the past few months leading to the event have been particularly tough as we all volunteered our time on top of our jobs, school, families and other duties so many of us ended up running on 3-4 hours of sleep for weeks. As you can imagine this was toiling and have put our health at risk, so we took the time to rest, spend time with our families and move slowly on all but the essential wrap-up tasks around the photos, videos, evaluation forms, etc. But now it’s time to use our renewed energy and look forward to the next year -- as one of our young team member said: “TEDxKids@BC did not end on September 17, 2011, rather it opened the pages and dipped the quill for the beginning of a new chapter for the world.” But before we do that, I'd like to share the story of this year! As I am sure many of the TEDx organizers that already went through their first event will agree, seeing the event unfold is a life-changing experience. It was one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring days in my life! The feedback from the speakers, audience, partners, volunteers, even the people that watched the webcast has been absolutely positive and uplifting making it all worthwhile!! These are just few quotes from the members of the audience: “TEDxKids@BC was one of the most amazing days of my life. It was absolutely incredible to see so many amazing, incredible, unique kids changing the world and bringing awesome ideas to light, and seeing the inspiration that the attendees took away from that was wonderful.” “TEDx events are an incredible vehicle for honest, imaginative conversation between people of all ages and from all fields. I learned this first at TEDxUBC and then I was blown away at TEDxKids@BC.” “Yesterday was a wonderful event and I pass on my thanks to all of you who put in the effort to create such a great event. I found myself saying, ‘If only I had something like this when I was young.’” “We are still talking about it everyday and telling others about it. We are taking what we learned and adding it to our lives and sharing the stories with others to inspire them” “Both of my sons were inspired by various speakers at the event and as parents we were excited about the energy and focus that the event created within us and our children. We are long time TED fans and were so grateful to be able to attend an event live. The fact that it focused on kids was a definite bonus! ” “It was priceless to see the connections formed between people, and even more amazing was the way that the connections grew over the Internet even now, a week after the event. TEDxKids@BC is so much more than a conference - it's a community of inspired people who communicate year-round about how to empower themselves and empower kids." The two biggest values for me lie in the connections I made with some amazing young people (whom I am proud to call friends!) and the opportunities we have created for some of these young people to apply their passion and creativity in making the event and increase their self-confidence. We have invited kids to partner with the adults on the team and lead important roles during the planning and production of our event. These are the roles that were driven fully or mainly by youth:
  • Speaker application review, rating and selection
  • MC
  • Audience management
  • Filming & video post-processing
  • Livestream tech support
  • Photography
  • Media coverage of the day (youth driven media journalists doing interviews with speakers, partners and team)
  • Food
  • Many other misc roles like timer, micing, backstage speaker support, prop runners, etc.
One of the teachers of the high school students that did the filming gave us the following feedback: “The kids felt like professionals and treated as co-workers in the successful making of TEDxKIDS. They were on fire and totally engaged. This is what teaching looks like... or should I say learning. Give them relevant things to do, offer meaning, give them freedom, facilitate the opportunities to take risk and be successful and they will learn deeply.” We're planning to turn TEDxKids@BC into a fully youth-empowered platform with the adults providing mostly mentorship and support. We believe that putting youth in the driving seat is the best way to empower our growing community of kids that came away inspired from our event this year and can't wait to come back together again to start planning the next one.

This post was originally published at the TEDx Tumblr blog.

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