"Get out of the basement!"
The dreaded cry from Mom or Dad upstairs is enough to strike fear into the heart of most teenagers on summer break.
But four local teens have not only pledged to get out of the basement this summer, but out of the house to experience events and venues they otherwise might not.
"Get Out of the Basement is a program that targets youth between the ages of 13 and 18, to go explore local venues and events throughout the summer month," said Ben Boxall, a 16-year-old Wolseley resident taking part in the program. "This year it’s only July because it’s a pilot project and we’re all busy in August but we’ve gone to places like Folk Fest, the Fringe (Festival), the Aviation Museum, the Manitoba Museum, an anime convention; all sorts of places I never normally would have gone to, that we went and explored and took video of and interviewed people. Then we come back to the office and compile it and post on social media."
Joining Boxall are 18-year-old Zachery Boyar, also of Wolseley, 17-year-old Nick George of River Heights, and 13-year-old Sam Sawchuk of Fort Garry.
Each day, the teens set off to a different venue or event happening in the city.
"We take a lot of photographs and record a lot of video, some interviews, and we edit them and post them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, all under the Get Out of the Basement name," said Boyar. "We’re just trying to attract the audience of 13 to 18 year olds to get out and do something with their summer, don’t spend it inside doing nothing."
The program was conceptualized by Peter George, president and CEO of McKim Communications Group, who was looking for a way to provide opportunities to teens for learning how to work, improving social and interaction skills and utilizing interests in computers and social media.
"I’ve always liked talking to people, I’ve just never been really good at it," said Boxall. "So this was a really good excuse to figure out how to be more confident talking to people, and gradually, after practising a bunch in the earlier part of this month, I’ve kind of figured out there’s a pattern in talking to people and interviewing them, even just talking to people on the street."
Boxall said he likely would have spent his summer on the computer had it not been for the program.
"If it wasn’t for this program right now, I would probably be in the office of my house playing games on the computer and watching YouTube. I wouldn’t go outside very much, I might have gone to the lake a couple times, but really, in the city, I would just be at home the whole summer, talking to people on Facebook," he said.
"It was a very different approach to the summer, doing this program. Instead of just sitting at home, I got the chance to go and do so many things I never would have done."
Boyer said the program turned out to be educational as well as fun.
"Not only do you get to explore the city that you live in, and find out new things that you’ve never tried before, but you also learn great office skills, multimedia skills, editing photo and video, and also how to post it and make it look professional," he said.
To see what the teens have been up to this summer, visit getoutofthebasement.com