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Local teens off to CNE youth conference


It’s called "Today’s Issues, Tomorrow’s Leaders," a youth conference at the Canadian National Exhibition, and Fort High students Simone LeBlanc and Stacey Angus will be there.

The pair leave for Toronto this week, with the conference running Aug. 23-25.

"It’s where urban and rural youth go to talk about issues that affect us," Angus explained. "On the last day, we get to present our ideas to politicians, CEOs and business people."

Hundreds of young people aged 16-26 will be attending the conference, with LeBlanc and Angus earning their seats through a 4-H leadership camp.

LeBlanc said a good part of the conference will be bridging the differences between rural and urban participants on what is considered an issue.

"There’s a contrast in what we deal with out here than in Toronto," she noted.

"Like for us, graduated licences is a big issue," said Angus. "People in Toronto can grab a bus and think, ‘What’s the big deal?’ For us, it is a big deal.

"It’s just the way we react to stuff and the way they react to stuff," she added.

Education will be one of the bigger issues discussed at the conference, LeBlanc guessed.

"It’s basically what our life is right now," LeBlanc remarked, saying high school and post-secondary education is being rocked with enormous changes.

"They’ll be a lot of shooting down John Snobelen," she admitted.

But the trip also will have its lighter side, with the pair staying a few days after the conference to take in the sights of Toronto.

Plus the conference itself runs as a part of the CNE, which as LeBlanc said is "one big fair."

But during the conference, both plan to take things seriously.

"Maybe something we’ll say will actually sink in to those people," Angus said.

"We have to keep our outlook on the future positive," LeBlanc added, noting it would be too easy to bog down in all the negatives.

"We’re there to make things better, after all."

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