From Wetaskiwin — CANADA 150 YOUTH GENEALOGY PROGRAM
Original article and photos by Patty Caputo. Article first appeared in Wetaskiwin’s Roots & Branches Newsletter, v.16:1 (Jan 2018)
As Youth Coordinator I attended the 2017 fall AGS workshop along with our representative, Alice Hoyle. After spending the weekend immersed in brainstorming one of the ideas coming out of the workshop was a poster entitled “How My Ancestor Came to Canada”. I was pretty excited about this idea but wanted to add a Christmas twist, since I knew we’d have to push our project late into the year. So, after more discussions, which eventually led to including the Youth Leaders at my church, the “twist” became “My Family’s Journey to Canada (and the Christmas Tradition / Recipe/ poem/story that continues in our family)”.
The project was introduced to members of the Wetaskiwin Branch on October 17, 2017. I brought the box of books received from AGS through the Canada 150 grant and showed them to the members. I had created a poster, as a sample, and presented my ancestor to the group. Jason Dick, my 13-year-old grandson, presented his poster of an early ancestor. He was witty and well spoken, and his love of family history was very apparent. After much hand shaking, and congratulations, Jason exclaimed “I love this! Where do I sign up?” And so, the Wetaskiwin Branch will have its first youth member in January 2018.
After this meeting, Jason and I attended 3 separate youth activities, presenting a story from the AGS book box, our posters and a treat from a recipe of our ancestor, to introduce the project and encourage the youth to participate. It was decided to invite the LDS youth groups to participate as well, to increase the potential number of youth who might participate. In addition, a written “project guidelines” sheet was provided for all prospective participants to elicit enthusiasm for the project.
At our next meeting on November 21, 13-year-old Laythan Koop, grandson of Branch members Lee and Carole Koop, presented his early ancestor. His presentation was fantastic! He created a Power Point Presentation, along with Dialogue Cards that kept everyone on the edge of their seats, right to the unveiling of his beautiful poster. His presentation was informative, humorous and touching! Well done Laythan!!
The final date for the activity was December 9, 2017. Display tables and tripods were setup, along with Christmas décor, to complement the variety of posters and displays that would be brought. At this activity no formal presentations were made, but attendees were invited to sample the dishes brought and enjoy the posters. Seven youth brought posters and 12 adults participated by bringing posters, food, or display items.
In total, 9 youth and 12 adults participated in the project for 187 hours. Some worked together on their projects, some alone. Some adults brought goodies from recipes passed down from their ancestors along with a poster, and some brought goodies alone. All submissions were thoroughly enjoyed!
“Spending time learning about our ancestors was a great way to feel the Christmas Spirit!” was a sentiment expressed by several participants.