What does it mean to be Canadian?
© Darrell Cole – The Amherst News
Lauren Skabar talks to Amherst Rotary Club president Paul Calder (left) and her father, Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar, after speaking to the club about the Adventure in Citizenship conference she attended in Ottawa. Skabar was sponsored by the Amherst Rotary Club.
AMHERST – Lauren Skabar has a greater understanding of what it means to be Canadian.
The Grade 11 Amherst Regional High School student attended the Ottawa Rotary Club’s Adventure in Citizenship conference in the nation’s capital.
“It was an opportunity for young people living in Canada that our country is not just a set of geographical lines that bring us together. It’s more than that,” Skabar told members of the Amherst Rotary Club. “It was amazing to meet all sorts of young people from Newfoundland to Nunuvut because they all had a different perspective on what it means to be Canadian.”
Adventure in Citizenship brings 220 young Canadians together to explore the national identity and Canada’s shared values while discussing the implications of the freedoms that Canadians enjoy.
The conference also provided an opportunity to learn up-close about Canada’s democratic institutions and fosters a greater understanding of the privileges and responsibilities that come with citizenship.
“On the last day we were there we got to watch a citizenship ceremony and there was a little boy named Jacob that was so happy to be a Canadian that it made me cry. It was so emotional to see how much it meant to this little boy and his family to become Canadian citizen,” she said. “It’s something we take for granted every day. I’ve never seen a smile so big.”
Skabar heard about the conference from a fellow student and applied to attend. She was sponsored by the Amherst Rotary Club.
While in Ottawa, Skabar met some Rotary exchange students, including a young woman from Bulgaria who was in awe at being able to go to school and live in Canada for a year. The experience included a tour of Parliament and a meeting with the Speaker as well as a visit to the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que.