The Community of Creative Citizens recently partnered in hosting another major, highly successful event this time at the Fredericton Convention Center on April 19th. CCC, with one of its goals being the enhancement of wellbeing in our province, partnered with PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs – a program to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in students from grades 6-8, to host a showcase of student ingenuity.
Just short of 200 people attended. Those in attendance were New Brunswick educators and students, community members as well as educators from British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ottawa. Special guests were the Lieutenant Governor Brenda Murphy, Premier Blaine Higgs, Minister of Education and early Childhood Development Bill Hogan, Mayor Kate Rogers, Woodstock Mayor Trina Milbury and PowerPlay founder Bill Roche from British Columbia.
The event was designed to be interactive. There were panels, including one chaired by Miramichi Mayor Adam Lordon, where the Premier and CCC Chairman Daryl Branscombe, were asked questions by students, and where they asked students questions about the importance of developing entrepreneurial attitudes and skills in young students.
Daryl told a story of when he was young, he took on a newspaper route in the Village where he lived. He didn’t have a bicycle, so the days were long. He had an idea that might save him time. He was in grade 7 and he asked his teacher if she would let him out 10 minutes early and he explained the reason. She agreed. He then negotiated with the driver of the NB Power truck to give him a ride to the end of the lane where the elementary kids came out of school. As he knew many of the kids, he gave each of them a paper to take home. He cut his travel time in half.
Eventually he borrowed money from his parents to buy a bicycle and had a rack installed. He repaid his parents the money he borrowed and with his excess cash he bought a bicycle for his brother. The story gets better. The Newspaper organized a contest for those who could sign up the most new customers. The prize was that the top five newspaper boys across the province would get an all- expense paid trip to Toronto. Daryl was one of the five and his neighbor won as well. This was achieved in a small community of 3,000 people.
In this example of his early entrepreneurial and creative mindset, the willingness of the teacher in question to be flexible and bend the rules to let Daryl out early, is a powerful example of how schools should be open to helping students achieve their passions. We need more teachers like that in our school system now, to help each student reach their potential.
In addition to other panels that included teachers describing their innovations related to PowerPlay in their schools, there were breakout sessions that promoted educators and students to share ideas and build relationships. One of the student breakout sessions included a 9 year old student flown in from British Columbia to describe to the other students how her on-line business has taken off, being sponsored by businesses and getting millions of “hits” on her website overnight.
Another major event was the unveiling of the PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs sponsored video, created by Adam Lordon’s videography company, of the impact of the program at Elsipogtog (formally known as Big Cove First Nations School). This was very moving. It showed the positive impact of PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs on the attitudes, and skills of the children to use their creativity to make school much more engaging and meaningful for the children and making teaching more enjoyable for the teachers. Guests from Elsipogtog were the school principal, Melissa Googoo-Dedam, and family members from the community.
Also mentioned at the event was that PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs partnered with Johns Hopkins University to research the impact of PowerPlay in New Brunswick. Two reports were completed. Both highly endorsed the positive impact of the program in our schools. The report clearly validates CCC’s support of PowerPlay in NB Schools.
The highlight of the event was the showcase of student products on display, and for sale. Approximately 70 students from across the province had their products at the Convention Center. Time was given to attendees to shop before the event, at noon, and at a pop-up event during the day. Each attendee
was give 20 PowerPlay dollars to shop. As well, people could use regular money. Many of the students sold out. Attendees were clearly impressed with the products for purchase.
The day ended with Kara Angus, Founder of Go-G0 Group Inc., leading a call to action as to where to go next, building on the momentum of the day. Kara is a powerful speaker and motivator who greatly encouraged the students and other attendees to believe in themselves.
What is impressive about the day is CCC’s ability to support excellent programs to improve the quality of life of New Brunswickers. Also, people appreciate CCC investing time and support for the next generation of New Brunswickers to reach their potential.
PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs represents the cutting edge of how education should be taught in New Brunswick. The program is personalized, experiential and leverages community resources. Research shows students are more highly engaged when doing the program. In fact, one principal noted that students called him on a storm day wanting to come to school to work on their project, and how he let students come in on a Sunday. Research also shows how attendance is up in schools when students are working on their PowerPlay projects, and how those exposed to the program are more likely to stay in New Brunswick.
Daryl K. Branscombe
President, Community of Creative Citizens Inc.