Deklan Franklin messes around on his scooter beside the hockey rink in the Pomeroy Sport Centre. He jumps and flips the scooter around from side to side before landing on it, gliding away on the smooth concourse floor.
Franklin is a Grade 10 student at the Energetic Learning Campus who wants to see an indoor skate park built in Fort St. John.
“There’s two small outdoor parks,” he said, “but you can’t use them most of the year because of the snow or rain.” Franklin envisions an indoor park that would charge somewhere around $5 for drop in, and maybe have a punch card-style membership.
He was one of dozens of students to take part in a trade show at the Energetic Learning Campus June 7 to share their ideas about how they want to make Fort St. John better. The ideas are diverse, ranging from humanitarian fundraisers to arts engagement to cleaning up cigarette butts.
This isn’t just a theoretical assignment; the main part of the project is to figure out how to make their ideas happen.
And so far it seems to be working. Some ideas are ambitious and some are simple enough they’ve already been implemented.
The large blank wall on Evangel Chapel caught the eye of another group. They reached out to the building owner and pastor, Tony Warriner, to ask if they could paint a mural on it.
“We were looking for a wall for a mural, and Tony was looking for someone to do a mural on his wall. It was perfect that we got connected,” Allison Ostle said. She and her teammates plan to start painting right when they’re finished school near the end of June.
Their display at the trade show had iterations of the mural design, from its first stages to the near-final version. They’ve worked closely with Warriner on the concept.
“I really hope he comes today,” Ostle said. “We invited him to come. He hasn’t seen this latest version yet. I can’t wait for him to see it.”
Paint and scaffolding have already been donated, the team just needs volunteers now, to help execute their design.
All of these projects started with a local field trip earlier this year. Six buses took the students on tours of Fort St. John, with six different guides who talked about issues going on in the city.
“One covered money management, one talked about how to get your ideas heard in council,” said teacher Phil Hiscock.
“Then the students came back and generated hundreds of ideas about how to change the city. The project started with the idea, but the rest of it was really them making it go,” he said.
This article was originally published in the June 8, 2016 edition of the Alaska Highway News.