Cowichan News Leader

Multicultural Leadership troupe wins CVRD Enviro Video award

Multicultural Leadership group member Ashton Arden performs a slow-death in the group’s first-place winning video in the CVRD’s youth environmental video awards.                                 -
Multicultural Leadership group member Ashton Arden performs a slow-death in the group’s first-place winning video in the CVRD’s youth environmental video awards.
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Dramatic doesn't even begin to describe efforts made by Cowichan Intercultural Society's leadership group in their first-place winning environmental video.

They conclude the short clip on the evils of bottled water with students dropping like flies from dehydration.

And on top of that the video comes to an end with a slow-death soliloquy from Frances Kelsey student Ashton Arden.

Folks at the Cowichan Valley Regional District chose the Multicultural Leadership group's video as their top choice in the group entry as part of their Environment Commission's annual youth video contest on the environment.

Awards as well as cash prizes were handed out last week.

"They were all fabulous," Environment Commission chair Gerry Giles said.

Giles sat on the panel of judges who watched the videos.

"Every single one of them carried a very important message, and so it was a really difficult decision."

"We were very excited to learn that we had won," project co-ordinator Lori Austein said after hearing the news last week.

"And they were very excited to do the video."

The group brainstormed several ideas with the help of Cowichan Green Community's Michelle Staples and CIS member Linda McDaniels.

"It pretty quickly became apparent their interest was in water," Austein explained.

Grade 12 student Arden was instrumental in inspiring the younger students to take part in the video.

"He was very involved with pulling the grand idea together," Austein said.

And he's also had experience acting too, she added.

"It just comes naturally to him."

The group, that meets every Thursday, also spent time researching water consumption.

"It was fun and a very great way to get educated on the subject," Austein said.

They shot the video, which they dubbed 'What if?' in one Thursday session and ran through their bit only a couple times.

"I'm not the most technical person and I didn't know how much battery they had left on the video camera, so I told them they might not have a lot of time," Austein said.

And the idea tossed out by the group at the beginning of their skit, that plastic water bottles should be banned in the region, is a worthy one, agreed Giles, comparing it to that of Bench Elementary School's push to ban plastic bags and the results they saw from the Thrifty Foods ban.

"So that impetus to change practices is always there and it’s always better if you can do it with voluntary actions instead of trying to legislate it," Giles said, noting it's very much about people's personal choices too.

The group won $700 from the CVRD but have yet to decide what they're going to do with the dough.

"I’m hoping one of their options and their choice is to attend what’s called the Inclusive Leadership Adventure," Austein said, adding that three- to four-day event held in February at the Cowichan Lake Education Centre based on garnering leadership skills is not set in stone.







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