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.