Jo(e) Youth Creative camps are underway in Lacombe under the direction of summer students Laurell Pallot and Mikael Rentz.
Pallot and Rentz, who’s official positions are recreation coordinators, first entrance into the jobs market is teaching kids how to enjoy and safely navigate platforms like TikTok and YouTube.
“On Monday, we meet everyone and then split up into teams. We have challenges each day and it ranges anywhere on the TikTok spectrum. At the end of the day, we have a work book we go through and then we talk about it. Yesterday we talked about problems online and today we wrote a letter to our parents,” Pallot said.
The camps include kids ages 9-12 and also act as a way for kids to connect with their parents on social media platforms they both may be unfamilair with.
“With apps like TikTok coming out, there is not a lot of older people on it who really understand it — but kids still need to know how to be safe. They will be on it anyway and having a safe place where they can come and learn and then start the conversation with their parents is important so so they and their parents can have a better understanding of the platform,” Rentz said.
Pallot used an analogy to describe how parents view platforms like social media.
“A bike isn’t scary to parents because they know what it is. TikTok is just like a bike, but they just don’t know what it is,” she said. “Starting a youth-led conversations about social media with their parents is really beneficial,” she said
Both Pallot, who is attending university next year, and Rentz —who wants to be a teacher one day — said they are learning a lot from the experience.
“It is cool and I am learning too. I didn’t think it would be a possibility for a first job, so it has been a wild ride,” Pallot said.
Rentz added, “Even week to week, the kids have been so drastically different and they are teaching me a lot about what kids need. They are teaching us about TikTok and YouTube that allows us to further help other campers.
Ultimately Pallot and Rentz hope to provide the best camp experience for the kids each week,
“They can come out of this with a deeper love for Tiktok and how to safely naivigate their way through it,” Rentz said.
Jo(e) Youth Creative is funded by the community and recently was donated Wifi for the program by the Echo Lacombe Association.