Our first ever FEAT Kids took place in a school gymnasium, but our second show stepped it up a notch. We took a risk this year and decided to host FEAT Kids on the same day as FEAT Canada in an attempt to share costs between the shows and stay inline with our principle of offering FEAT Kids for free to students in the lower mainland. Back in October, when we put the word out, the theatre was full in less than a week and we began looking for speakers.
The morning started off with an acrobatic act from the Vancouver Circus School. After the FEAT introduction song, Danielle Burkett stepped on to the stage to perform an acrobatic demonstration on the ribbon.
After the circus school’s demonstration, FEAT Producer and Director, Sean Verret, took the stage to introduce the MC for the evening Kate Rowan. Kate, from the Coast Mountain Academy previously spoke at FEAT Kids last year and was excited to host this year’s show.
The first half of the show featured biathlete Hunter Sones, triathlete Kennedy Kopke, traveler Andrew Warner and traveler Sydney Norris.
Hunter Sones explained what biathlon was and how the first question he was asked was to choose between hockey and biathlon. He explained how passion and dedication fueled him and how Claudia Kolb was an inspiration. His talk explained how he started with races with limited “success” and how he trained and persevered. He explained some of his experiences along the way and how he climbed to the top of the podium in various events. He ended his speech by saying, “find what you love and be it, live your dream.”
Kennedy Kopke, the youngest speaker ever at FEAT at only 8 described her first triathlon at the age of 7 and how she had the “inner voices”. She talked about the group Sole Girls she was a part of and how the group helps girls with the inner voices that they hear. She talked about how she learned about the voices that encourage us and discourage us and how not only other kids have inner voices but so do adults. She recounted some times when she let the bad voices win and how she learned to make choices based on the voices in her head. She ended with the message, “what you choose to listen to is your choice!”
Andrew Warner took the stage talking about when he was 11 and didn’t understand what empathy was. He found the definition but hadn’t actually experienced it. In spoken word, Andrew wowed the audience with his experience in Haiti and his different attempts at empathy starting with experiencing a homeless man in Vancouver and culminating with an experience in 2013 in Haiti after an earthquake hit. He explained not only the culture shock, but also the culture, the collapsed buildings, and the work he did with Rose Charities to teach the people of Haiti in a way that is sustainable. Yet he was still able to experience happiness, through the eyes of a local boy. He finished with, “Don’t forget to feel, because feeling is what makes us most human being.”
Sydney Norris explained about the animals and adventures in the Okavango Delta in the middle of nowhere. She explained how baboons ransacked a tent and how elephants drank from the pool and interrupted breakfast. She described the terror of experiencing a lion outside her tent and the other various animals that were literally separated from her by just a canvas tent.
The second half of the show featured traveler Priya Puri, swimmer Willem Young, freestyle skier Maia Schwinghammer and traveler Rory MacDonald.
Priya Puri started her talk by asking, “Have you ever thought of all the things how made you who you are today?” She never took the time to stop and think about who she was. She thought that going to Ecuador she’d become a hero, but rather realized how her outlook on life changing every single day. She explained how she had been told her whole life to, “Take nothing for granted and appreciate your opportunities” but it was the trip to Ecuador that truly made her understand that statement. She built bricks and experienced giving a hand-up not a hand-out. She realized she didn’t show enough gratitude in life and explained how that affected her. She finished her talk with the statement to, “Live you life in the challenge zone.”
Willem Young explained an idea he and his friends came up with to raise money for kids in Ghana to go to high school. They came up with the idea Tri for Ghana. Willem explained the process of raising money and also training for his large swim from Whytecliff Park to Bowen Island. On the day of the event he was amazed by the support from the community and he explained his swim across the channel. He swam with two kayakers and made the crossing in 52 minutes beating the ferry from Horseshoe Bay and staying clear from the Killer Whales. He finished his talk telling about how they raised $40,000 and will be able to send 10 kids to 4 full years of high school in Ghana.
Freestyle skier Maia Schwinghammer explained the sport of freestyle skiing to the audience and about her journey from Saskatoon to Whistler in the pursuit of her freestyle skiing dream. She explained the difficulty of heavy training schedules and tons of homework, but how her team helps her get through it all. She explained how her team is so much more important to her than podiums. She told a story about her failure in one day and her experience of cheering her heart out for one of her teammates on that same day and how good it made her feel. Maia finished by explaining how important it is to try her best and how others will follow your example. She finished with talking about how important it is to do what you love and how you can conquer the world when you’re doing something what you love.
Traveler Rory MacDonald started by explaining his obsession with the world. This obsession blossomed when he first traveled to Germany. He explained the culture shock he first experienced and how hard it was. He explained how self doubt and self confidence nearly ruined his first 4 months of his experience in Germany. He realized though that he should, “never let self confidence hinder self success.” He explained how his second host family helped him truly understand his potential. It was during an experience in England, however, that he truly realized how important culture is. Rory continued about how travel and the exchange program changed his way of thinking and gave him the confidence to grow. He finished with the plea, “to make friends with people whose first language isn’t yours and … explore”