A high school student from High Prairie has enriched his life on a special trip to the nation’s capital.
Mack Kasinec of St. Andrew’s School was among 140 students who participated in the Encounters with Canada program Oct. 22-28 in Ottawa.
“My most cherished parts of the camp were seeing Ottawa and meeting people from across Canada,” says Kasinec, a Grade 9 student.
“My experience was great and I recommend it to other students.”
Encounters with Canada is an educational program for youths aged 14-17 funded partly by Heritage Canada.
“Youth can experience theme weeks, which explore different events that can increase their career choices,” Kasinec says.
He participated in the week that focused on medicine and health.
“You get to meet people from outside your community and make new friends,” says Kasinec, son of Tom and Charlene Kasinec.
He also heard many people share their lives and experiences in the medical field.
“I’m interested in going to medical school and I thought it would be a good opportunity to further my career choices,” says Kasinec.
“I want to be a psychiatrist and also work in psychology.”
Several experts spoke about a deadly topic that touches families around the world.
“They talked mostly about stem cell research and cancer research,” Kasinec says.
He valued the opportunities he experienced during the week.
“Another highlight for me was visiting Parliament Hill and learning about government,” Kasinec says.
“I witnessed Question Period in the House of Commons and the (Opposition) Conservatives were insulting the finance minister (Bill Morneau).”
During the week in Ottawa, participants are based at the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre.
Students toured the Peace Tower and Centre Block on Parliament Hill, as well as the Canadian War Museum, Canadian Museum of History, Rideau Canal, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, the National Gallery of Canada and other monuments.
Kasinec and the group toured the city of Ottawa on the Thursday and drove into the province of Quebec, crossing over to the northern bank of the Ottawa River.
That evening, students were given options to see a play called King of the Yees, go on a haunted walk or go to an Ottawa Senators NHL hockey game.
“I chose the haunted walk because the play sounded boring and I am not a fan of hockey, Kasinec.
After a busy week that seemed to go by quickly, he says it was a sad time to say good-bye to new friends.
The program includes 14 weekly themes that include arts and culture, communications and social media, democracy and youth, first responders, global affairs, law and justice, science, sports and fitness and technology and food.
Encounters with Canada has been offering youth opportunities for 35 years.
For more information, visit the online website at ewc-rdc.ca.