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Vlog changing minds of our tomorrow

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | October 14th, 2008



More youth across Canada are encouraged to vote in this fall's Federal Election and now they have a voice, which is coming right from Fanshawe.

Students need to acknowledge how important it is to have a voice and be heard for a fair outcome.

“The voter turnout among young Canadians has been a grim 25 per cent for decades. The 2007 Ontario election had the lowest voter turnout in its election history, despite longer advanced polling, extended polling hours, and more polling stations,” said Fanshawe College Sociology Professor Jon Callegher.

“While this was happening in Canada it was difficult to ignore the record high youth voter turnout in the United States presidential primaries. The race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama engaged and energized American youth in a way that hasn't been seen before. This phenomenon has been attributed in great path to the strategic use of the world wide web namely blogging, discussion forums, social networking sites, and You Tube in getting the attention of young people, and inspiring their involvement.”

For years educators have been attempting ways to get youth involved in political issues, such as elections and Canadian culture. Having been unsuccessful and not properly reaching out to the younger generation, Callegher may have found a way to get the future generation involved.

MomentofYouth.org was launched last year with hopes of getting youth to participate in the political world.

Callegher, who is 27 himself, is using his youth oriented political website as a forum for young Canadians to connect to others while expressing their opinions through video blogs.

“After 15 years of watching Rick Mercer ‘Rants', I thought that using my own form of blogging-or vlogging- would be the most effective way of explaining key issues in Canadian culture and politics to young people in a way that is relevant and hip, or at least far more relevant and hip than the way Canadian mainstream media conveys the issues,” Callegher explained.

“I created MomentofYouth to engage young people in the political process by first making them aware of election issues that might be relevant to their lives.”

The original site was launched in October 2007, prior to the Ontario provincial election. At that time the site received 60,000 visitors in only one month.

“At that time we had just a few videos on things like crime, the minimum wage, and the environment, but over the year we've slowly been able to add more videos on things like immigration, multiculturalism, the CBC, with the hope of generating more nationally-focused discussions,” added Callegher.

This site has become popular among educators and community leaders who believe in this site and what its purpose for today's youth presents.

MomentofYouth is intended to reach out to youth in a way that will not only educate them about political concerns, but also encourage students to feel free to develop and express their opinions amongst others viewers in a similar age bracket.

“Through the use of video, I simply explain the issues, ask the questions, and ask the rest of Canada to answer them,” said Callegher.
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