The New Canada Ideabook is a blueprint for Canada from the next generation of Canadian leaders. In just 72 hours over the September 2014 long weekend, 100 young delegates from across Canada worked together to define the major opportunities and challenges facing Canada and describe their goals for our next 50 years. Gathered in the birthplace of Confederation 150 years after the original Charlottetown Conference, they heard from visionary speakers in a range of subject areas, they discussed and debated. The result of their conversations was published in November.
Augustana Fourth-year BMgmt in Business Economics student Larissa Hepp from Castor, Alberta, was one of the 100 delegates.
“I heard about the conference from an email Dr. Jérôme Melançon sent this summer encouraging students to apply,” Larissa explained. “The application involved a 450 word essay or short video about the challenges and possible solutions we see for Canada as it approaches 150 years in 2017. My essay explained the challenges of rural to urban migration on local economies and the value of agriculture and rural living.” She joined the Social Cohesion and Civic Engagement group, defining major opportunities, challenges, and possible solutions for Canada in the next 50 years.
“The trip was a great experience,” Larissa enthused. “I had not been to eastern Canada before. A highlight was seeing Province House – the building in which the Fathers of Confederation met to discuss the future of Canada. I learned that in order to potentially find a solution that works for everyone you have to go beyond your own views but draw on your story. It was interesting to hear the stories of other participants and how their personal background shaped their views.”
Larissa intends to enter municipal government after she graduates. She is more enthusiastic than ever after her trip to Prince Edward Island in her desire to create a better Canada starting at the local level. “The best part of the conference was seeing all these young people striving for change all across the country,” she said.
The conference Ideabook was published in November, and participants have joined a Facebook group to share articles, ideas, and activities they are engaged in to make a difference.
“We hope that this will keep the momentum going and encourage other events for young people looking to make a difference in Canada,” Larissa said.