I had the good fortune to drop in on the fourth annual We Day today at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. It’s a huge gathering of youth from across Canada to kick off a year of fundraising for Free the Children, an organization devoted to helping kids in Canada make positive social change in the world.
It was so inspiring to join 20,000 school kids in cheering for the amazing fundraising and volunteer work they do for communities in developing countries such as Kenya, China and India. As you can imagine, the energy in the ACC was off the charts (the photo is of the view from my seat). It’s so much fun to see kids get excited about volunteering and taking action to change the world for the better.
The roster of speakers included Free the Children founders, Craig and Mark Kielburger, self-help guru Deepak Chopra and Jacob Hoggard, the lead singer of the band Hedley. But the most inspiring speech I saw was by a magician and motivational speaker named Scott Hammell. Hammell took the stage wearing a straitjacket and told the crowd that the binding garment was designed so that escape would be virtually impossible. He then explained that he was going to escape from the jacket in front of our eyes, and he was going to break the process down into a series of steps so we could understand how he did it.
Each step was difficult and even painful (step one involved Hammell dislocating his shoulder, which was both disgusting and amazing to watch), but the magician suceeded in escaping from the straitjacket. The message: Nothing is impossible if you try, you just have to tackle a difficult process step by step.
I think that’s a message that all kids and adults should take with them through life. I hope the students at We Day remember this idea when faced with life’s challenges. know I will.