#SHIFTHappens

by Joel Conway, FORTRESS Foundation

You’re never too young to make a difference. Just ask Peter Wilson.

Peter is a 2x winner of the Youth United Anti-bullying Film Festival and his attached commercial shoots have been featured on CBC prime time commercial space for two years running.

In 2012 I attended Canada’s Social Media Camp with Peter, who at the time was only 13 years old and was the camp’s youngest attendee. I remember during one of the camp’s sessions Peter was called up on stage to share about his passion for filmmaking, and the anti-bullying campaign he had put together. He spoke of how he was using social media to be a force against bullying and teen suicide.

While he was speaking I was inspired by how composed, articulate and informed he was. Only 13 years old and here this kid was speaking at conventions and creating social campaigns. When I was his age the most impressive thing I had done was to get the highest-score on the pac-man at my local arcade.

Peter is one of the most gifted, ambitious and intelligent young men I have ever met, but he is not the only one out there capable of making a difference. Peter’s story and his campaign against bullying is a perfect indication that, whether for good or for bad, no one is ever too young to affect our world. Peter’s message is clear: our words and our actions have weight, and even children have to decide whether to use that weight to harm others or to help them.

I often think back to Peter boldly sharing his passion three years ago and all that came about due to his willingness to step forth and address a difficult issue. And now as Social Media Camp is once again rolling around Peter and I are working on a new social initiative. In collaboration with the FORTRESS Foundation we are looking to produce a mini-series that will empower youth to ask hard questions and make informed decisions about sexuality and in turn, preventing sexual exploitation. (Get involved in the launch here) A project that we believe will appeal to a whole new audience of young men and women like Peter, inspiring them of the difference they can make, no matter how young they are. #SHIFThappens.

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Sean Smith

Sean is Managing Partner in ThatSocialMediaGuy.com, a Social Media consulting company based in Campbell River, BC. Sean has almost 20 years of experience in the IT industry, from a HelpDesk Manager to business owner. Sean has been active on Social Media platforms, since joining LinkedIn in 2005. Since then he has consulted on the development of Social Media strategies for a wide variety of businesses, from retail to tourism, instructed at workshops, been a guest and keynote speaker at various conferences, has been working as the tech/start-up author for Steamfeed.com and has recently become the Editor of the Social Media Camp Blog.

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