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Ag for Life launches: “Why I Love Alberta” Youth Challenge

Posted on March 14, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Heather Cameron
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The “Why I Love Alberta Youth Challenge” launched on February 1 courtesy of Agriculture for Life (Ag for Life), Economic Developers Alberta (EDA), and a number of their partners, and will run until the end of April.

“Working with the economic developers of Alberta last year, we attended their conference, and we were participating as Ag for Life within the panel and talking about the future of agriculture and the entire scope of the conference was much broader than just agriculture; it was really around economic development in Alberta,” said Luree Williamson, the Chief Executive Officer of Ag for Life. “It really struck me what amazing opportunities we have in Alberta and how that resonates with our youth and from there, we followed up with the economic developers and talked about the opportunity to engage youth in their conference and really get them involved with thinking about what Alberta represents to them, and what it means to them, and that sparked the idea of the ‘Why I Love Alberta’ Youth Challenge.”

Ag For Life, Williamson said, completely believes in the power of Alberta’s youth to shape the future of Alberta.

“We want to have a youth voice in what makes Alberta great, why they would want to live here, what the career opportunities look like,” said Williamson. “Among industries, there’s a lot of promotion around careers and attracting the next generation into the workforce, and part of the work that we do is working with the youth to understand what does attract them? What is it that they’re looking for in the future? This challenge is a way for them to get creative and to share some of that messaging.”

The contest, Williamson said, is open to students in Grades 9 to 12 all across Alberta and those students are invited to put together video submissions where they express why they love Alberta. When the videos are submitted, judges who are economic developers and partners across the provinces go through the videos to determine the top three submissions. Those top three submissions, Williamson said, will be awarded cash prizes.

“Being the first year that we’re launching this challenge, we’re very excited to provide an opportunity for Alberta youth to share their voice and to learn directly from them why they love Alberta,” said Williamson. “We know that Alberta is a hub for attracting people from all over the world to come and live and work in our great province, but we want to have that opportunity to hear directly from our youth why they feel that Alberta is the place to study, start a career, and live.”

Williamson says that the response to the challenge has been exciting thus far.

“The economic developer members across the province are very excited because it’s a way for their communities, their students, and their local businesses to get involved and promote the challenge, and we’re also going to hear directly from the youth,” said Williamson. “The youth love an opportunity to get involved. They always rise to the occasion when asked, ‘Can they provide their input? What do they think?’ They get excited because they can do that and express themselves creatively through their video submissions.”

Williamson says that the goal with this contest is to share with Alberta youth what the possibilities are in the province of Alberta.

“We want them to understand Alberta’s the place to be,” said Williamson. “This is an amazing province with a bright future for them, so we want to get them excited about being Albertans.”

Williamson stated that at Ag for Life, they work with youth from K to 12, and it is remarkable the excitement and the opportunity that they see when they’re working with the students, as they are tech-savvy, they are driven, they are entrepreneurs, and they are innovative. 

Ag for Life, Williamson says, is excited to provide a voice to the students to be part of the future of the province. Part of that and part of the challenge, Williamson says, is virtually joining the Economic Developer Conference on April 10, where the participants in the contest will have more opportunities to learn about the economic opportunities within the province via a livestream. 

Williamson says that youth who are interested in participating in the “Why I Love Alberta” challenge can visit: http://www.lovealberta.ca for information on how to enter.

“The future is in the classroom today,” said Williamson. “We want to provide the youth the opportunity to get involved and to have their voice, to share their ideas and their thoughts of our future. There’s lots of social issues that we’re dealing with from economic prosperity to climate change to food security. All of those issues resonate and influence the youth of tomorrow, like tomorrow’s leaders, so having the opportunity to participate in events such as this opens their door to some creative thinking and problem solving, and the students always rise to the occasion. They are very astute to social issues, and they have some very innovative solutions.”

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