Youth Empowerment Summit for Six Nations Youth Returns with Earl Lambert

It might have been wet and cold last Saturday, but Thru The RedDoor studios was full of bright, enthusiastic Six Nations youth learning about creative industries and using their voice against bullying.

Thru The RedDoor and the Two Row Times have partnered up once again to hold the second edition of the Youth Empowerment Summit for Six Nations Youth with over 36 youth participating in music, photography and film workshops, and an anti-bullying video project with motivational keynote speaker Earl Lambert.

Participants also had the chance to win one of many great draw prizes, which include a DSLR camera, HP laptop, iPad, iPod touch with Beat by Dre headphones, a GoPro camera, and tons of Proud To Be apparel. Y.E.S. organizers left registration open and free for all Six Nations youth to join in on the event, resulting in a welcomed growth in participants from the last Y.E.S. event in August.

Thru The RedDoor provides audio, video and multimedia production services and through the Youth Empowerment Summit in partnership with the Two Row Times, aims to provide the community’s youth with the opportunities to explore the media arts right here in Six Nations.

“We do a lot of things here that nobody knew we did”, says Gary Joseph, founder of Thru The RedDoor. “Even before, when we were just starting out, we [saw] there was a lot of young guys out and we noticed there wasn’t a lot of places they could go to get help. We just wanted to start turning kids on to the opportunities in this industry beyond what you might think. There are a lot of actors, you see the singers, but there’s a whole industry behind that, and there’s a lot of jobs there that need to be done. We can train and hire our own people here in the community.”

The video/photography workshop component involved a more hands-on experience for youth to take part in the commercial project.

“When it was done, they could say ‘hey, I helped build that’ and that’s an experience not everyone gets to feel. It went pretty good. We learned a lot of things today,” says Joseph, “Everyone was scared to touch the equipment, but there was one girl who stood right where you were supposed to behind the camera. She didn’t know what she was doing, but she took control and that was awesome, I like to see that.”

Six Nations artist Logan Staats handled the music component of the summit. His music and workshops have taken him many places, including Bella Coola, B.C.

“It’s the exact same thing as music, the more you do it, the better you get at it and the more comfortable you are. It’s still a learning experience for me, but I’m embracing it,” says Staats of his role as a music workshop facilitator, “Each time you do a workshop, there’s usually that one kid that you really connect with that is really into what you’re doing, so I just try to target, or cultivate that.”

“In the workshops I explained the art of healing through music and how it has such healing properties and how it can be such a great thing to make you feel better. I went through the content and properties of a song, and explain the structure of music and how it works in the industry. Then we sat down and wrote a song together. Some kids just gravitated towards the music and there were some kids who were a bit quiet, but when we can connect with at least 3 or 4 kids that really understand what you’re doing then it’s worth it.”

While the workshops were ongoing, the Good Minds Stand Up commercial that was being shot was also being edited together so that by the end of the workshops, and after lunch, participants got to see the result of their work. It was a great set-up to Earl Lambert’s motivational talk, which inspired hope in a lot of our youth to be driven by their passions and keeping a good mind. The Youth Empowerment Summit ended off with young people walking through the red door with smiling faces.

Because these events have been so successful, there are discussions to host another youth program again before the end of the year. Stay tuned for more information.

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