I like to learn. A lot. The field of leisure is a fascinating subject for me and I find there are numerous ways each day in which I can somehow glean new information, apply previous knowledge to a new situation, find a solution to a challenge through a conversation, or simply reflect on my own perspectives from something I’ve read.
Last week, I finished reading a thought-provoking autobiography entitled The Bag Lady Papers by Alexandra Penny, attended a Tourism Educators Conference at North Island College, volunteered as a judge at the City of Campbell River’s first youth hackathon, and completed a small research project on seniors recreation programming. Each of these experiences contributed to reminding me that my chosen career path is just right for me, and that, while I do have a lot of knowledge and experience, there is still so much for me to learn.
At the Tourism Educators Conference (TEC), I listened intently to Kevin Lamoureux as he spoke about Truth & Reconciliation and what I, as a tourism educator, can be doing in my classrooms to encourage and promote greater intercultural learning and empathy and deconstruct ‘otherness’ – there is no us, there is no them. If you have the opportunity to be in a room when this man speaks, I highly encourage you to take it. He is engaging, inspiring, and thought-provoking in ways that are difficult to describe. His reminder that post-secondary teachers are often the last ones to interact with people as citizens in formal education before they leave that system forever sticks with me, as I very much want students to have a positive and valuable experience with learning so they continue to be lifelong learners.
Being a judge at the City of Campbell River’s first hackathon allowed me to connect with some of my city’s youth who were keen to help solve the issue that almost every community faces: ‘there is nothing for youth to do’. Five teams (each with 5 to 7 members) spent 9 hours brainstorming a particular piece of that issue, then crafting a solution to said issue. Each team’s problem and solution was as unique as the team members themselves. One team addressed single-use plastics, another looked at the lack of engagement between secondary students, their curriculums, and how that affected their overall student success, a third team built an event website targeting youth, the fourth team conceptualized an arcade, while the fifth team detailed out plans for a bike exchange around the city’s Greenways Loop. Multiple times throughout the hackathon, I found myself grinning, staring at their knowledge in awe, and/or feeling extremely hopeful and humbled by their actions.
Diverse learning opportunities exist for all of us. I hope you seek out the best ways for you to learn, as it’s personal – what fits for me is likely not what fits for you. But be sure, there are platforms and methods for each and every one of us! Happy exploring 🙂