Q: You have been part of Heritage Fairs since you were a student. How old were you when you first presented a project at a Fair?
Q: And today you are the new president. What has motivated you to stay involved for so long?
The Fairs had a big impact on my life and I wanted to give back. I have always recognized the value in the Fairs. They introduced me to other like-minded students who were excited by history. I was a bit nerrdy and the Fairs gave me confidence. They connected me to something bigger and led me to my career.
It is a pleasure to see a similar impact today. Students excited by history. How they connect the past to the present and future and connect with each other when they share their stories. Also connections between students and judges and visitors. I love those moments.
Q: Why do you think that Heritage Fairs are important?
A: First, I think it important for young people to know where they came from and why things are the way we are today to build a better future. Secondly, the Fairs can build excitement about history in students and pride in their learning. They become the experts who teach others and from this grow in confidence.
Q: The BCHFS has a vision and core principles. How well do you think that the Society is following its vision and principles.
We have many strengths in our board, members, and volunteers. In terms of academic learning, I think we do a pretty good job in fostering historical thinking and passion about history. We need now to build a stable organization with stable finances and staff to push forward our vision to all students. If we can do that, the rest will follow.
Q: What are your goals as the new president for 2017?
My skills are in planning. I want us to be in a better place financially with a strong, efficient organization with a well compensated co-ordinator. We need to need to focus our energy into a productive plan… to have as clear a business vision and principles as we do for student learning.
I also want to build a friendly climate for volunteers. There are many more interested potential volunteers that we could involve and we need to help them get involved.
Q: What are some things we can look forward to this coming year?
Kelsey Beaudry is working to put on our website some great Young Citizen videos that tell the stories of local historical sites, a project supported by Heritage BC. It is part of our principles that students see history around them and we hope that these will encourage a greater awareness of community heritage sites and inspire similar projects.
We are also planning collaboratively with Heritage BC to link their annual conference in Victoria in May with the South Island Regional Fair. Their conference theme is imagining futures, heritage in the next 150 years, so it is most appropriate that young people who care about history and heritage are part of the discussion.
Q: Do you have anything else you would like to add?
The Fairs program brings together great people. It is rewarding to see students and adults who want to be part of a great tradition. If we want to grow, we need more of them. A stronger volunteer base is the missing piece.
The feature image shows Britney with (left to right) former Alumni Emily, Daniel, Teagan, and Ana.