Interview with IAP2 scholarship recipient, Lindsay Brookes
Communica strongly believes in the value of engaging the public and the broader mission of IAP2 to advance and extend the practice of public participation.
So when IAP2 Canada approached Communica with the chance to sponsor the 2018 North American Conference, held this past September, we jumped at the opportunity. Along with other sponsors, Communica provided IAP2 Scholarships which allowed students, non-profit staff or grassroots advocates to attend the entire conference.
We recently connected with Lindsay Brookes, one of nine scholarship recipients, to learn about her background and experiences at the conference.
Hi Lindsay, thanks for talking with us today. How did you become one of the nine lucky people to receive the IAP2 scholarship?
In order to be considered for the IAP2 scholarship, I was required to complete a written application to demonstrate why I would be a good candidate to attend the conference on scholarship. I was informed that I was successful via email by Amelia Shaw, the Executive Manager for IAP2 Canada.
What did it feel like when you learned you were a recipient of the award?
I was extremely excited when I learned I was one of the recipients of the award because my attendance for this conference was dependent on receiving the scholarship.
Why is it important for companies to offer scholarships?
It can provide opportunities for people who would not have had them otherwise. Additionally, companies that value philanthropy by not only stating they value supporting the community, but also by acting on their values, is extremely important.
Tell us a bit about yourself. For example, where did you go to university?
I completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria and more recently a Master of Public Health at UVic. I will be convocating this November!
Congratulations on your upcoming convocation! It sounds like you’ve been very busy! And you’re working as well?
Yes. I’m currently working for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – B.C. & Yukon Division as their Manager of Philanthropy. I have been working as a fundraiser since 2016. I’m also an alumnus of The Duke of Ed, having completed both Silver and Gold levels.
What is The Duke of Edinburgh International Award?
It’s experiential self-development leadership framework available for young people ages 14-24, regardless of background, circumstances or abilities. Our mission is to provide youth with opportunities to challenge themselves and develop into the best possible versions of themselves. Personal development comes from opportunities to grow and succeed in meaningful ways. As such, The Duke of Ed inspires youth to set and achieve goals in four areas: skill development, volunteering, physical recreation, and adventurous journeys in nature. There are over 15,000 young people participating in the Duke of Ed in 185 communities across BC & Yukon.
We understand you also find time for volunteering?
Yes. I enjoy working with people who have disabilities, playing soccer with children, teens and young adults who have developmental disabilities on a weekly basis, and as a counsellor at Operation Trackshoes, which is an annual sporting event for people with disabilities. I am also the Vice Chair of the Canadian College of Health Leaders Vancouver Island Executive.
What was your impression of the IAP2 conference? Were there sessions that stood out?
The conference was a great opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals from across North America and I attended quite a few sessions. A few that stood out were:
Changing the Conversation around School Closures
I learned about the challenges faced by schools in Edmonton and balancing the demand of the number of students and school buildings that have surpassed their life cycle. I selected this session because the organization I work for, The Duke of Ed, works closely with schools and any big changes to schools impacts the work we do. For example, with the teachers strike in B.C. held a couple years ago, we lost some Award Leaders who were unable to commit to volunteering as a Duke of Ed support to their students due to workload following the strike.
Including Vulnerable Populations in Public Engagement
I learned about the preferences of engagement for vulnerable populations such as homeless, disabled, and youth & young adults. I attended this session because The Duke of Ed is a zero-barrier award and works closely with youth from vulnerable populations and we want to find strategies to best engage with these populations and reach out to more young people who could benefit from the Duke of Ed. Also, through my volunteer work with disabled individuals, this session was a good fit.
Plenary – Panel of local/provincial and federal government representatives
I enjoyed hearing about the lessons Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps learned from the recent projects she’s been involved in ranging from the Johnson St Bridge, Crystal Pool and a controversial statue.
Youth Shaping Cities: Growing a Culture of civic youth engagement
I learned about some barriers to youth engagement such as lack of confidence, lack of civic literacy, lack of connections, etc. This session was a fit for me as the Duke of Ed supports youth and provides the framework for them to become their best selves and develop leadership skills that will improve their confidence. A McKinsey study found that 87 per cent of Award participants felt more confident about themselves and their ability to achieve their life goals compared to the national average of only 44 per cent for youth ages 15-19. By participating in the Duke of Ed, youth will be able to contribute to a culture of civic youth engagement.
What was the biggest or most impactful lesson you learned at the conference?
The opening plenary highlighted the importance of being understood more than just being heard. This set the stage for the sessions that followed and it was helpful to learn about the ways to best engage vulnerable populations. Also, being aware of the barriers to youth engagement will help with address the challenges that youth are facing.
In the plenary with government representatives from all levels, Mayor Lisa Helps, stressed the importance of informing the public along the way of decision-making. I think this lesson works well with other situations such as making decisions impacting vulnerable populations. People appreciate to be informed, even if they are not involved in the decision-making.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently at the Duke of Ed, we will be launching our 2018 Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign to raise funds to increase awareness of the award to more young people in B.C. & Yukon and best support the 15,000 youth who are participating.
What is your next career ambition?
Uncertain! But as long as I am helping people, that is where my career will be!