Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cultural Exchange 2.0

Many of you know I do a weekly blast through my local Facebook Group & Blog Stuff To Do With Your Kids In Kitchener Waterloo, but not many of you know why I do it.

In KW there are two sets of FREE/LOW COST Children's Activities.  The first is for Children 6 and under.  The second is for those 13 and up.

If you have a child the age of 7 to 12 you've got a dilema. YES there are all kinds of organizations IE Minor Sports, Drama Schools, Music Lessons etc. to sign up for, but the costs are very high and if you want to do more than one it can be difficult on a budget.

If you're child is very young there are FREE library programs, Early Childhood Centres, Playgroups etc.

If you're a teen there are EYEGO programs, youth festivals etc.

They've forgotten about the tweens here.  They aren't old enough to go places without their parents, but too old to be amused by sing a-longs and cut and paste projects.

There are lots of events in KW but without budgets for advertising it's difficult to get the word out about them (we used to live for the summer, being many of the outdoor festivals offer fun for all).  That's why I do the weekly blast, I research for family events happening locally & glady welcome info from others about great KW happenings and get the word out to the parents in this area.

I saw a "problem" & I found a way to do something about it.

Today THEMUESEUM (a place I fully support any opportunity I get) hosted #CulturalExchange2 which was an evening to meet local candidates and hear their views on Arts & Culture in KW.

I think my "problem" would count as Culture based one.  I figured if I complain about this problem I should be taking steps to rectify it and saw this as an opportunity to hear the opinions of others, about this, and other topics surrounding the Arts & Culture Community in this Region.

I loved the way that the event was set up.  Thankfully it was NOT a debate.  I hate the me vs. you, or it's all their fault type of discussions.

The event was set up as groupings.  Each Candidate had 3 mins to talk about Arts & Culture.  Then the candidates were rotated from table to table to discuss with the attendees their thoughts on the topics.

Our table had an Artist, a CBC advocate, a Social Media/Venue pressence and a MOM.

Being that I am NOT shy I spoke to everyone that came to our table (that's why we were there right?) about Arts & Culture in KW.  I feel we (our table)were heard and I think that candidates felt the same.  One thing did strike me as extremely memorable.  One candidate asked if I was an artist, to which I replied no and explained my "problem"/reason for attending.  I brought up the point that many TEEN events are not well attended because they lose them over the TWEEN years and wonder why they don't come back.  I also mentioned that experiencing new things is also a part of the learning process and the TWEENS may have carried that on to TEEN years had they been given that encouragement from the Arts and Culture sector. The candidates and attendees at the table did not realize that there was such a gap for tween kids in KW.  I hope they do something to change that now that they have been informed. 

Many thanks to THEMUSEUM for hosting an event that opened eyes from both sides of the table.

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