Kids These Days ...

Yesterday, in a fit of cynicism, I wondered whether designating one day as Earth Day made any difference. Here's what happened today:

I picked up the Lethbridge Herald on the way to work and began to peruse it as I sipped coffee at my desk. Would there be any local coverage of Earth Day, I wondered? Look no further than page A3, Hometown News. Tijana Martin's got a photo in there to accompany an article by Melissa Villeneuve. The photo shows Ty Marshall, 17, from Victoria Park High School. To compliment his very cool Black Sabbath T-Shirt and shades, his plastic gloves indicate serious business as he scours the coulees for garbage. So whoever said garbage-picking isn't cool?

Lethbridge Herald featuring the "Free the Children" Earth Day clean-up action.
It wasn't just him. 100 students were out there, cleaning up the mess we have left behind.

But there's more: in addition to participating in the Earth Day cleanup, they applied for, and were successful in procuring, $1,000 through the Telus "We Give Where We Live" program. These kids donated that money to the Lethbridge Food Bank. Environmental AND Social awareness?! Makes the Oldman just tear up at the thought of it. Seriously.

So who are the great teachers inspiring these kids? You don't have to look far - there is Mr. Sadlowski in the photo, bent over with garbage bag, right behind his student, camera slung over his shoulder, hoofing it up the coulee. Reading further, there is an additional teacher involved as co-facilitator - Karla Wright. Both teachers meet every Thursday at noon with the group, called "Free The Children".

It doesn't take the Oldman long to pick up the phone to thank the teachers and the students for their great work. A Thank You goes a long way - there is an endless supply of them, yet so few in circulation. Yes, you can quote me on that. I ask whether Mr. Sadlowski thinks the group would be interested in the OWC's Film Project. Part of the project involves reaching out to students. Donations from anyone under 18 to the Film Project are honoured with a professional photo opportunity with the OWC and a special blog posting (did you know our blog has had nearly 15,000 hits?!) Best of all, students will be invited to a free "How To Film The Watershed" seminar (to be offered in Taber, Lethbridge and Pincher Creek).
Follow #oldmangoestohollywood on Twitter for updates on the Film Project and great photos!
So next Thursday, the OWC is going to Victoria Park High School in Lethbridge to meet these outstanding watershed warriors and invite them to get involved with our Film Project. I am hoping to inspire them to create their own watershed videos and upload them to our new OWC You Tube channel.

Communication, after all, isn't only about "getting our message out there". It's also about supporting each other's efforts to make our watershed a better place to live, work and play - hearing each other's messages and acting on them.

Congratulations, "Free The Children" and Victoria Park School ... and THANK YOU :-)