Western Presents to Choose Your Own Adventure (Western Youth Camp) for the second time

Chris Zach Cropped

Get REAL was proud to speak at Western’s Choose Your Own Adventure Camp for the second time, this Spring. Once again, the kids were great and the counsellors were awesome and welcoming! Zach Valliant & Chris Studer screened To My Grade 7 Self, and spoke to a very engaged audience. Taylor Plumb, who has volunteered as a counsellor for the past two years, noted the following great response from students:

“From my experiences volunteering the past two years, I found that his presentation was extremely beneficial for the conference and it generated a lot of questions from the students. One thing that the students took from his presentation is how derogatory words such as, “fag” or “queer” can be extremely offensive even if they weren’t intended to be. As a result, anytime the conference leaders heard a student use a derogatory word, we would simply respond with, “Get Real”. I was thoroughly impressed with how effective it was and by the end of the conference, we found students telling peers to “Get Real” when they heard it- I’ve never seen attitudes change so quickly before.”

The CYOA will forever be the first time Get REAL truly achieved its goal of speaking to students. And despite a few bumps in the road with the Western Administration, it was Western students who believed in us first, and enough to trust us enough to have us speak to their kids. We will be forever grateful. Look out for a testimonial video from counsellors from the CYOA which will be released Winter of next year!

Get REAL visits Arthur Voaden and gets a bold question from a student with an amazing response

Arthur VOur first trip to Sarnia was a great success! The kids were great and had some really stimulating conversation. The second presentation in particular stood out. We had a student put up her hand and say something along the lines of the following:

“I am very pro-gay, and I have gay friends, but I do not believe that sex – the actual act itself – between two people of the same gender is natural and normal.”

It was a great moment for a lot of reasons. First of all, I have to give kudos to this student for putting up her hand and making a comment – that in itself is a difficult thing to do. But it was a great moment for what happened immediately after. About 20 kids (in an assembly of I’d say roughly 60 or so students) put up their hands, wanting to speak up and respond to their classmate. As a rule, we want our presentations to be from the heart, open, and non-intimidating. We want our presentations to foster discussion among students about these issues. At the same time, we aren’t there to give a sex-ed presentation.

So Zoe and I just did our best to answer calmly and methodically – doing all we could not to make the student in question feel bad or feel stupid; instead we tried to ask the question of “What is normal?” and the fact that society’s ‘norms’ change drastically from month to month, year to year, decade to decade, century to century. But the students who spoke out had terrific and truly insightful things to say. I was blown away by the thoughtfulness of the responses, which were made all the more powerful because they were coming from them and not us. Because that’s what we want. It was a truly great moment, and it brought to the forefront the students who were eager to speak up and share their ideas about equality. It was a truly fantastic moment, and one I (Chris) was proud to be a part of. Big thanks to Zoe for making the 3 + hour trek with me, and to the welcoming and open-minded staff and students from Arthur Voaden. What a phenomenal experience. We hope to be back soon.

-Chris

Zoe with some of the students after the presentation!

Zoe with some of the students after the presentation!

 

Get REAL visits Malvern Collegiate Institute again, full assembly this time!

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Get REAL had the pleasure of visiting Malvern Collegiate Institute (in the Beaches, Toronto) for a second time this year – this time for a full assembly. Big thanks goes to the presenters MacKenzie Herd, Chris Studer, and Kevin Hennessey, Mr. Izzo for organizing, and Paola Studer for some great photography. It was a great presentation and one that really resonated well with the students! We look forward to being back next year!

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Get REAL visits Oakville Trafalgar for first High School Presentation of 2013!

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Get REAL had a GREAT time presenting at Oakville Trafalgar today, marking our first High School presentation of the 2013 school year! One of our most fun presentations – lots of good laughs and joking around along with our message. Big thanks goes to Erin Collett for her help in both organizing and presenting and Carolann Malenfant (OT school social worker) and Kathy Raleigh (guidance counsellor) for helping coordinate! We had a really good time and got some great feedback from students after the presentations! We look forward to going back to OT in the new year!

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 Plus, we made it into the Oakville Beaver! Click here for the story!

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Get REAL Visits Clara Brenton!

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This week, Get REAL made a terrific presentation to the middle school students at Clara Brenton Public School, in London, Ontario. Representatives from CB saw Get REAL’s presentation at the fall 2012 Lead Out Loud Conference, run by the Safe Schools division of the Thames Valley District School Board, and asked if we’d come and speak to ALL of Clara Brenton. It was a special request because we were told that CB wanted to make their own Get REAL video, to enter into the Lead Out Loud video contest for all of the Thames Valley District School Board. Which was very cool and our presenters were very excited. We have some footage we’re putting together (the following are still shots) so look out for those soon!

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We’d like to extend a sincere thanks to the teachers and the students for one of the most engaging presentations we’ve ever done! And we received another great review, from Hilary Montgomery, the Vice Principal:

“Hi Chris,

The presentation today was amazing. We felt so honoured to “rate” a presentation equal to that of the safe schools conference. It was amazing to have so many presenters with their unbridled youthful enthusiasm and passion present to the students. The students could relate to the “raw” emotion of the presenters testimonials. I watched their faces during the presentation and they were totally engaged. I wondered how many of them would be changed or make a change for someone else thanks to the good work of Get REAL.

Teachers commented that it was the best presentation they have had for students.

Our principal, Mary thought it was amazing. She wants to get hats for all the students and she thinks having the group back would be great.

Do you ever do follow-up visits?  Hmm–Get REAL is truly a movement.

Thanks to you all for making the world a better place, one school at a time. We will keep you posted re. our video

Hilary Montgomery-Pumaren
Vice-Principal and JK-Grade 2 Learning Support Teacher
Clara Brenton Public School”

So basically, we could not be more happy with how our visit to Clara Brenton went, and it was a great mix of seasoned presenters (including Andrew McGuire, Val Pepin, Kevin Hennessy) and new presenters (including Melanie Campbell)! Well done to everyone involved. Here’s some more pics!

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Melanie, Val, Andrew, and Kevin hanging out

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Coffee for an early school presentation – essential!

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Kev killin’ it, as usual!

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Andrew giving out pins to the students

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Fantastic VP Hilary, and Principal Mary. Thank you both so much, you inspire us.

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Get REAL heads to Sherwood Fox Public School!

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Get REAL had their first presentation of the year today, at Sherwood Fox Public School! It was a great presentation (even after someone…ahem, Chris…gave our team of presenters Andrew McGuire, Val Pepin, and Andrew Sturrock the wrong directions). And got a great response from Fred Norwood, the Principal!

Fred Norwood Letter

A big congrats goes out to the presenting team for representing the organization so well. And we look forward to working with both Fred and W. Sherwood Fox again next year!

 

 

Get REAL Visits Aurora High!

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Today, Get REAL made it’s last presentation of 2012, at Aurora High School. The presentation was hooked up by the student council president Marcus Sjolin. Chris Studer (Exec Director) and Robert Camastra (VP Finance, Western).

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We also invited up staff members from Oakville Trafalgar High School (who wanted to see Get REAL in action before we came to OT) and got the green light there as well! Met some really nice students and it was a great way to wrap up an excellent year. Next pres in January! See you then!!