By Conly Watson
Opportunities can be found everywhere in the world. There are times in your life when you will have more, or less, opportunity, but the main factor you need in those moments is the drive to actually do it. I cannot express how grateful I am to Shakat Media for this opportunity; writing and telling stories has always been a love of mine, but I could never really find any pathway to expand on this hobby of mine. Not too long ago, I was in the process of moving from Whitehorse to Vancouver when a friend of mine told me about Shakat Media. It seemed like the perfect chance, given the age range of people they were seeking out to tell stories, and the added benefit of being compensated for the stories written.
I come from a low-income household, so the idea of actually getting compensated while doing something I love seemed unbelievably exciting. Vancouver is an incredibly hard city to get employed in, so I thought that it wouldn't hurt to try and get involved with Shakat Media. I was pleasantly surprised. I was welcomed with open arms, and a rather remarkable amount of positivity from the editors, and coordinator Lance. Honestly, they made me feel, for once, that people wanted to hear my stories. I can definitely say for myself and others my age, that a predominant weight on our minds is the worry that we don't have anything to truly contribute to the world. As a result, in recent years, the sheer amount of youth supportive programs and options have made me feel hopeful and excited for the future.
When my mother heard about this program, she almost didn't believe me. Throughout my life, she has seen me in the process of writing story after story, simply because I enjoyed doing it, and she was the only one who ever heard them. The only constant issue that Whitehorse youth talk about, at least in my experience, is the apparent lack of things to do. I have to disagree; they simply don't know where to look or what they want to look for. I used to think the same way until I realized my passion for theatre and then all of a sudden, this whole world opened up. Groups needing actors, backstage theatre tech, stage managers, and assistant directors popped up all over the place. Eventually I got offered to be a board director for Yukon Theatre for Young People Society, which frankly I knew nothing about. At first, I had no idea what I was doing at the time, but now that I've gone through it, I've learned an incredible amount about the inner workings of organizations and what it really takes to put on plays and musicals.
Happily, I know a really great group of teenagers back home, that I am extremely proud of and very glad they found theatre way earlier than I did. I can only imagine the fun years they're going to have ahead of them. Retrospectively, it makes me realize all the cool opportunities that people are trying to offer Whitehorse youth, and it's sad that not too many are hopping on these amazing opportunities. I'm still nineteen, so I suppose I shouldn't be talking like I've lived for decades. I was where they were not too long ago. I just wish the sheer volume of information in this world was as clear then as it is now. When I moved, I really had to take a step back and realize that there's this whole world of stuff, some of which I won't enjoy and some I will, but it's always there, a fact that is quite overwhelming.
If I can become more financially stable in Vancouver, I hope that in the future, I can also give many opportunities to the youth in the Yukon. This home community has done so much for me, and I have an immeasurable amount of respect for the adults that are really doing their best for the younger generations. I hope I can give back as much as I can. I'm currently in school for on-camera acting, and one of my plans is to bring film projects back home for the youth. Currently, there already exists a lot of theatre in the Yukon, which is how I started out, so I know that this could be a refreshing addition for the community. However, that would be in years to come, as I first have to get the experience, then see where I'm at in some years’ time. I know it's a lot of work, but I personally think it will be the most amazing experience if I can positively impact multiple lives back home, as many have done for me.
Finally, I just have to express how amazed I am by the professionalism of everyone at Shakat Media. I really think that this organization is not only helping out youth financially, but confidence-wise as well. For anyone who is looking to write, make music videos, or art, this is the place for you. I can't express the gratitude I feel, and the fact that this opportunity is helping me move to an entirely new city. The move is very stressful, and having these moments where I can tell these stories has helped me out so much. So, I'm sure I can speak for everyone when I truly say thank you to the people at Shakat Media, for helping bring up the youth in the Yukon, and giving them actual life experience and support that they can use. This is a time in my life that I'll never forget, and I appreciate all the help that I've gotten. In this time of big changes in everyone's lives, your support is incredible.