On Friday our new national video program Young Citizens was nominated for a Canadian Online Publishing Award in the Best Video or Multimedia Feature category. It seemed like an appropriate moment to look back over the past 12 months and what this program has meant to Canadas History and Heritage Fairs.
Young Citizens was a big program, probably bigger than we ever imagined. Our dedicated staff worked extremely hard throughout the fall of 2011 and especially running up to the program launch in April 2012. It involved coordinating with 80 regional heritage fairs across Canada to get video cameras into the hands of 200 kids across Canada.
The goal was to showcase some of the best and brightest young Canadians who participate in Heritage Fairs. More than 150,000 kids participate in fairs every year at the school level, and another 12,000 move on to the regional level. For those of you who don’t know, Heritage Fairs is like Science Fair, but about history. Each regional fair was tasked with selecting between two and five students to participate in the program.
And the worst part was, we really didn’t know what kind of a result we we’re going to get. Would the students be able to use the cameras? Could they edit their videos? Could they go out in the community and do interviews? Would any of these videos even be watchable?
But as soon as the first video from Janeya in St. Catharines in Ontario came in we knew the students could handle this project. Here was a great video, shot on location at Queenston Heights, with two separate interviews. It was professional and we were on the right track.
From coast to coast we started getting great videos students across Canada. They were informative and inspiring, and most importantly, they really did encompass Canadians living in every part of the country. If you have had a chance, please take a look at the top 30 that we’ve selected through online voting over the summer.
Our staff at Canada’s History deserve a great deal of credit for making this program happen. Deborah Morrison for having the vision to see this program through, Jean-Philippe Proulx for managing this great initiative, Joanna Dawson for the endless hours of coordinating with teachers and students, James Gillespie for his great design of our new Kids website, Tanja Hutter for keeping all our content on track and organized, Andrew Workman for his video and design support, and Danielle Chartier for her hours of helping ship more than 500 boxes across Canada!
Likewise Julia Howell who developed the initial concept for Young Citizens and Ecentricarts Inc. our great web programmers in Toronto who saw us through the development – especially Michel Blondeau, Stephanie Allen, Michael Kincaid, and Lin Ling. The Provincial and Regional Heritage Fair coordinators who put in thousands of hours of volunteer work that is impossible to measure. Without their dedication this program would absolutely not be possible.
But most importantly, the students who were selected as Young Citizens. You have blown us away with your creativity and dedication to history. If anyone needed some sense that Canada is headed in the right direction they need only watch the videos you have created. You have made this program a success!