From free dirt bike rides and hands-on jousting demonstrations to a modelling competition, musical and dance entertainment, there’s lots to like about the inaugural Victoria Teen Expo.
Add in a diverse cross-section of close to 100 exhibitors, plus workshops and teen-oriented guest speakers and it seems there’s something for youths of all interest levels.
The keeners will no doubt get excited about the happenings scheduled for April 27 at Pearkes Recreation Centre. But it’s the kids who may not be as motivated – the ones battling self-esteem issues or bullying, for example – that organizers really want to appeal to.
“When you’re 12 to 18, those are the toughest years you can possibly go through,” says Ali Berman of Garman Productions, the Victoria company putting together the one-day youth extravaganza.
“Your body is changing, you’re in middle school and high school. So many of them struggle with depression or eating disorders or bullying and we wanted to give them resources (to help deal with their challenges).”
The exhibitors will be grouped into four distinct areas: life and education, fashion and beauty, health and wellness and the Telus “cool stuff” area. A floor plan with a full who’s who list, as well as details on speakers and entertainment, is available at teenexpo.ca.
To encourage youth to check out the expo, Berman and company have enlisted the help of middle and high school administrators and counsellors and put up posters around town to boost awareness.
Then there’s the little matter of financial incentive. “We’re donating $1,500 to the school that sends the most attendees,” Berman says.
The expo has a couple of other community service elements. A portion of the proceeds from the show will be donated to Kidsport, and attendees bringing non-perishable food items, to be passed along to local food banks, will receive a discount on their admission ($5 for kids 10 and under, $7 for 11 and over).
Overall, the hope is to help teens expand their horizons and their knowledge of what’s available for them in the Greater Victoria, Berman says.
“If we can help one person connect with somebody that helps them in their life, we’ll consider it a success. It’s about connecting the youth with the right people.”