The next day, I walked over to where the bus was picking us up and was glad to see a familiar face and friend I knew sitting at the back, so I sat with her. It wasn't long after the drive started that I was surrounded with a beautiful mix of different personalities and people. I was laughing within minutes at the jokes and jabs the guys in front of us we're saying, and smiling from ear to ear because I was happy that I didn't shrug away this opportunity. I've always been a shy person, and the thought of going somewhere where I wouldn't know anyone was unnerving to me, but I was so bored of staying at home doing the same ol' routine that I said "YES" to this opportunity that came my way.
And I'm so glad I did! I made lots of connections in those few days, ( I don't think I ever warmed up to a group of people as fast as I did with this group) and I learned a lot! Not necessarily from the suit and tie presenters that were using large vocabulary in a room full of tired faces, but from the group that I came up with. The energy, enthusiasm, and passion I saw gave me the boost I needed to get my butt back in gear and keep my goals in the front of my mind.
After returning from the Antigonish trip, I was invited by Youth Art Connection to be a part of the new Artpreneur 2.0 program which is a program that emphasises support for youth to gain employment, start small businesses or pursue education connected with their creative skills and passions. In the 6 weeks, I was able to connect with professional artists and the business community and not only gain the skills I was lacking, but build on the skills I already possessed. We had mentors from different business and art sectors who shared their experiences, both the good and the bad, and taught us which steps to take and when and how to take them. At the end of the 6 weeks, we hosted an event called Artceleration where all participants, artists and artisans were able to pitch our business plan and ideas and sell our product to a room full of investors, community members, and industry people at the McInnes Cooper Law firm here in Halifax. It was an amazing experience to share my dreams for the first time, and I felt a great sense of pride and excitement from it. After it was done, I just wanted to keep pushing forward, the ideas I had for myself and my business kept flowing through my mind. I'm so excited with life now that I know what I want to do, and if it wasn't for this program, I'm not sure I would have gotten the lift and positive energy I needed to really take the idea from the ground and build it up. I wouldn't have had the confidence I have now to really break outside the box. I know the risks and I know there will be falls, but now I know that I can get back up.
The ArtPreneur program wasn't just this cookie cutter program, it felt more like a family to me. I grew as a person and as a business woman with the help of Youth Art Connection and all the participants and mentors. I encourage all youth to seek out these programs, because they do exist, and if it wasn't for a random idea to go to this conference and the connection I had through my friend, I would have never known about this opportunity and this gift I was given. I'm so excited to tell everyone I know about this amazing organization (Youth Art Connection) and the wonderful people who run it. I know I'll be connected to them for a long time to come and hope that I can share my experiences with others, so that they can motivate themselves and get that push they need to succeed in their dreams.
I just want to give a shout out to the mentors, Shevy Price , J Bru and Jevin and the YAC crew Ann and Ryan, as well as the crew at CEED, Melissa, Manus and everyone else who worked with us.
To learn more about the Youth Art Connection and the various programs they offer, visit their website:
To learn more about CEED and what they do, check out : http://ceed.ca
And you can listen to Shevy Price's stuff here: https://soundcloud.com/shevyprice
And check out J Bru over here : https://jbrumusic.wordpress.com/tag/jbru
Show them all the same kinda love they've shown me!
That's all for today!