Weyburn will host 1,000 student leaders and school advisors in the city next week, for the Canadian Student Leadership Conference. The hub of activity will be at the Weyburn Comp and Crescent Point Place, but there are many activities for students and advisors at other venues during the five days.
Three years of planning was involved to prepare for this conference. "We put together such a fantastic conference, with the speakers and the workshops, and we have a great team behind us," said Margo Arnold, co-chair.
"Right now, our spirit leaders and our committee are trying to put the last details together and make sure that we have thought of all the logistics of having 1,000 people in our school and in our community," said Joanne Jensen, co-chair of the Weyburn conference committee.
Spirit leaders are finalizing the last few details of the five-day conference. "We are working on the opening ceremonies, and are finalizing the other speakers," said Sasha Shupe, one of the student spirit leaders.
"I am looking forward to meeting a bunch of new people from all across Canada," said Marissa McCallum, another spirit leader. "You meet such good friends from these conferences and there will be some very good sessions where we will be able learn a lot."
"We will have a lot of leadership workshops, and activities that help students learn how to be themselves and how to get involved in their schools," said Karli Ochitwa, spirit leader.
"We are very happy with the community support for this conference," said Jensen. She noted that businesses or organizations who are interested helping sponsor the conference can still contact herself, or Arnold.
The theme of the conference is "Flat-Out Leadership", and many aspects of Saskatchewan's cultural and historical sites will be promoted to the delegates.
"Saskatchewan has a lot to offer, and hopefully we have clear skies during the conference so the other delegates can see our sunsets and our harvest moons," said Ochitwa.
In addition to planning the five-day conference, 200 delegates will participate in a preconference that will give them a broader experience of the Saskatchewan culture.
During the first day of the preconference, the delegates participate in Dragon Boat racing at Wascana Lake, then attend a lunch with the Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium and attend the Riders game that evening, getting the opportunity to participate in the opening ceremonies beforehand.
The first day ends at Pumpkin Hallow, where the delegates get to go through the corn maze and have a campfire with s'mores.
On the second day, the preconference activities will be at Moose Jaw so that the delegates can visit the Moose Jaw Tunnels, and 15 Wing air base. The second day ends with a visit to the RCMP Depot in Regina, and then seeing "ABBA" at the Applause Dinner Theatre.
The final day of the preconference will include riding the Southern Prairie Railroad heritage train tour in Ogema.
For the actual conference itself, the public is invited to attend the opening ceremonies at Crescent Point Place on Tuesday, Sept. 25, starting at 7:30 p.m. There will be a parade of delegates from the school starting at 7 p.m. The parade will be going down Government Road to Crescent Point Place.
The public is also invited to go to Crescent Point Place in the mornings to join with the delegates to hear the keynote speakers. All speakers will present at CPP at 9:30 a.m.
The first speaker is Mike "Pinball" Clemons on Wednesday, Sept. 26. On the second day, Thursday, Sept. 27, the keynote speaker will be Dr. Samantha Nutt, who founded War Child.
Students will hear from environmentalist Geoff Green on Friday, Sept. 28. Finally, the closing speaker is Mark Scharenbroich, who spoke at the very first national student leadership conference in Yorkton 28 years ago.
"The keynote speakers have really good messages in their speeches, that will touch all of the students from across Canada," said Shupe. "The speakers always get you pumped up and excited about your own school."
For the workshops, the 1,000 delegates are broken into four colour groups: red, white, yellow and green.
"Each day, they will be doing something different," said Arnold. "Some of the workshops are things like leadership and learning, handwriting analysis, being safe and professional online, and a wide variety of other workshops."
The students will also be doing two hours of community service from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29. Community groups or businesses who would like to book students for a service project can contact Jacquie Williams.
Special closing ceremonies will be at Crescent Point Place. Then the conference ends with a gala banquet on Saturday night.
Billets are still urgently needed for students. Forms can be picked up at the Weyburn Co-op, Superior Office Supplies, the school, or by contacting Brenda King at home.
"One of the mandates of the conference is that the students are billeted out, and we want to show them what Saskatchewan prairie hospitality is all about," said Arnold. "In past conferences, billeting has been such a worthwhile experience for both the billets and the students."
Last year, many of the Comp students were billeted in Newfoundland when the Canadian Student Leadership Conference was hosted in Corner Brook. "It was a totally different culture in Newfoundland, so being billeted allowed us to learn about those families, and how they live their lives," said Ochitwa.
"The students who are coming are such good kids," added McCallum. "The students coming will be very respectful and very nice. I really loved my billets in Newfoundland and it was a really positive experience, as it was a mom and dad experience away from home."
Billet homes are asked to supply a bed from Tuesday to Sunday, Sept. 25 to Sept. 30, along with breakfast each day and supper on Friday night. Students will be dropped off at the school each morning at 8 a.m. and will be picked up in the evening.