Sounding off for change

High school students are organizing the 10th annual Change Conference at Glenlyon Norfolk School in Oak Bay.

Madeleine Taylor and Julien Butterfield sound off for change

Madeleine Taylor and Julien Butterfield sound off for change

In between practice exam sessions and grabbing lunch along the way, Madeleine Taylor and Julien Butterfield find time to think big.

The high school students are helping plan the 10th annual Change Conference, a two-day event organized by teens for teens happening at Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria.

“What if you could be the change?” Butterfield, a Grade 11 GNS student, said of this year’s conference theme. “This year we thought we’d broaden the notion of change.”

The event is designed to empower youth to get involved in their communities, embrace issues and be part of a solution. They’ll get the chance to connect with peers interested in the same issues, or help them figure out what else they could be interested in.

The conference features workshops on social justice, conservation and leadership, and delegates can choose one of three hands-on field trips promoting service in the community, including tree planting, farm labour and working in the school’s new community garden.

“It’s about discovering their passions and figuring out what they like to do,” said Taylor, a Grade 12 student.

This year, former Oak Bay residents and stars of MTV’s The Buried Life – Jonnie and Duncan Penn – are the keynote speakers.

Their MTV show shares a message that may resonate with delegates, Taylor explained. The Buried Life is about four friends trying to cross off 100 things on their bucket list before they die. Every time they accomplish a goal, they help a stranger fulfill a wish.

Their participation in the conference is an ideal fit for Jonnie and Duncan Penn, now on a North American promotional tour, who were involved in the Change Conference when they were GNS students.

“It’s nice to have a local to global to local scale, to have them come back here and share their experiences,” Butterfield said.

The conference happens April 8 and 9 at Glenlyon Norfolk School, 801 Bank St. The Saturday night presentation with The Buried Life cast is $20, or pay $30 for the weekend event.

To register or for tickets, please call 250-370-6800 or visit www.changeconference2011.com.

emccracken@vicnews.com