Red Deer martial arts expert Lyle Cheney demonstrates techniques to break free from an attacker to Brennan Knecht

Red Deer teens give rave reviews to empowerment day

Red Deer’s first Teen Empowerment Day drew 80 participants on Saturday and pleased organizers are already working to make it an annual event.

Red Deer’s first Teen Empowerment Day drew 80 participants on Saturday and pleased organizers are already working to make it an annual event.

“It’s been fantastic. For a first event I think it’s been really great,” said Red Deer mother Nicole Maurier, who organized the event after hearing from her daughter and her friends of the challenges and stresses they face.

“I’ve been in contact with a variety of organizations. One is Alberta Health Services, and they would love to work with me creating a committee for next year and to make it an annual event.”

The plan is also to recruit teens to an organization committee to provide input on who they want to see as future speakers “so that we’re actually empowering, inspiring and motivating teens while they are creating the event.”

Maurier said it was nice to see a mixture of teens and adults, including local parents and teachers who volunteered their time at the conference held at Red Deer College’s Cenovus Learning Commons.

The speaker line-up at the day-long event included teens, teachers and parents talking about the impact of suicide on their lives and the community, a self defence demonstration, a motivational speaker, and the Toronto organizer of the Count Me In Conference, the largest youth empowerment event of its kind.

Chad Olsen, who was convicted of drunk driving for his role in the deaths of a Red Deer couple who were parents of five, spoke to students about the impact of making the wrong choices.

Teens interviewed gave the conference high marks.

Shianne Therrien, 15, was told about the conference from friend Koral Empringham.

“I just thought it sounded like a really good idea.”

“We’ve heard about suicide awareness because there have been so many suicides in Red Deer,” said Therrien, a Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School student.

“I really like the personal stories that people are telling. We’ve had five different speakers now and I just really enjoyed connecting with them in that way.

“It really touches me personally. I cried so much and you can really feel their pain and it just encourages all of us to get some help when going through difficult times.”

Empringham, also 15 and a Lindsay Thurber student, said she wanted to see how others deal with the difficulties facing teens.

“I thought it would be interesting to see how different people cope with stuff, and that you’re not really going through a bunch of stuff on your own,” she said.

“Sometimes it can feel like you are.

“There are always people that care, and you’re not going through it by yourself.”

Among the bigger issues facing teens are suicide and trying to fit in with friends, she said.

“One thing can kind of seem like the end of the world, where really in a week it won’t matter anymore.”

Hunting Hills High School student Kayden Walper, 14, said he plans to tell friends to come next year.

“I’d tell my friends to come to this and tell them it will affect them pretty hard.

“I would definitely recommend it to lots of people.”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID cases climb in central zone, Red Deer

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in the province reached 3,138… Continue reading

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s municipal affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Energy industry support won’t injure municipalities

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Premier Jason Kenney participated in a livestream on Oct. 17, 2020. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
UCP members pass resolution at AGM calling for privately funded health care option

EDMONTON — Members of Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party have narrowly endorsed… Continue reading

“We weren’t sure what to expect with just doing the 50/50. We have been positively surprised with sales so far,” says Craig Fleming, co-chair of the Red Deer Kinsmen Club’s raffle. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Non-profits put their money on 50/50 draws

COVID impacts fundraising events

Student taking a math test. (Pixabay photo)
David Marsden: Students need more testing, not less

Testing has been central to Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s… Continue reading

This image taken with a slow shutter speed on Oct. 2, 2019, and provided by the U.S. Air Force shows an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile test launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The Pentagon has raised to $95.8 billion the estimated cost of fielding a new fleet of land-based nuclear missiles to replace the Minuteman 3 (Staff Sgt. J.T. Armstrong/U.S. Air Force via AP)
Pentagon estimates cost of new nuclear missiles at $95.8B

Pentagon estimates cost of new nuclear missiles at $95.8B

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2020, file photo Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks towards the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington. New virus relief will have to wait until after the November election. The architect of the Senate measure, McConnell, isn’t claiming the vote will advance the ball. Once the measure fails, he plans to turn the chamber's full attention to cementing a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court by confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Deadline looms, but COVID relief deal may be far off

Deadline looms, but COVID relief deal may be far off

Large earthquake off Alaska prompts tsunami fears, fleeing

Large earthquake off Alaska prompts tsunami fears, fleeing

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his granddaughter Finnegan Biden, leave mass at St. Joseph On the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. The Biden family walked to pay respects at his son Beau Biden's grave. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Trump goes after Fauci, tries to buck up his campaign team

Trump goes after Fauci, tries to buck up his campaign team

FILE - This Sept. 15, 2015, file photo, shows Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah. A California woman who was missing for about two weeks in Zion National Park in Utah has been found and left the park with her family who had feared the worst, authorities said. Holly Suzanne Courtier, 38, of Los Angeles, was found Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, by search and rescue crews after park rangers received a tip that she had been seen in the park, Zion National Park officials said in a news release.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Woman missing for 2 weeks found safe in Zion National Park

Woman missing for 2 weeks found safe in Zion National Park

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti responds to a question during a news conference about training for judges Monday October 19, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Commons gives approval in principle to judges’ sexual assault training bill

Commons gives approval in principle to judges’ sexual assault training bill

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau appear at the WE Day celebrations in Ottawa, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. WE Charity covered nearly $24,000 in expenses for Sophie Grégoire Trudeau's attendance at eight events over eight years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tories to force debate on anticorruption committee as Liberals warn of consequences

Tories to force debate on anticorruption committee as Liberals warn of consequences

Most Read