The J.A. Albertson Activities Center was the site of the Caldwell Youth Forum this past Wednesday. This event, held annually on The College of Idaho campus, invited 60 students from local high schools to participate in a day packed with educational programming and activities. Students from Vallivue, Caldwell, COSSA, and Canyon Springs High were given workshops, presentations, and opportunities to discuss a serious topic—the nationwide “It’s On Us” campaign to end sexual assault.
“This event gives kids an opportunity to immerse themselves in uncomfortable situations and to step up as student leaders,” said Caldwell Councilwoman Shannon Ozuna. “We need to work together as a community and we need to work together as a city.”
After Ozuna’s welcome remarks, the room fell silent as a video created by C of I staff and students made a call for strengthening the “It’s On Us” movement. Students across the gym nodded in agreement with the calls for accountability, planting seeds at an important point in the beginning of a new school year.
Building on the Councilwoman’s message—and the broader ideas of the entire event—the forum was an engaging and lively space for student leaders to further their understanding of critical issues ranging from the prevention of sexual assault to discussion of bystander intervention.
The Caldwell Youth Master Plan, adopted by the city in 2011, is continuing to work towards its goals. One of the primary goals of the plan—providing educational programming as a means of increasing social awareness to combat the negative ramifications of the bystander effect—has resulted in events like the Caldwell Youth Forum.
The relationship between the City of Caldwell and The College of Idaho has resulted in accommodating partnerships such as this one, with the city working together with the C of I quite regularly. At this year’s forum, members of the C of I’s advocate program served as assistants and mentors throughout the day, while Yotes ski coach and forum organizer Ron Bonneau led the direction of the event.
“We are sending personally selected students to find new ideas, new inspiration” said Bonneau, addressing students before Wednesday’s activities. From there, the students embarked upon the day with great enthusiasm.
The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.