Nelson seniors and youth connect through photography

Seniors and youth in discussion at the CLICK project. Photo: CLICK project video screenshot
Seniors and youth in discussion at the CLICK project. Photo: CLICK project video screenshot
Seniors and youth in discussion at the CLICK project. Photo: CLICK project video screenshot
Seniors and youth in discussion at the CLICK project. Photo: CLICK project video screenshot
Seniors and youth in discussion at the CLICK project. Photo: CLICK project video screenshot

Seniors and teenagers have more in common than they think.

That’s one of Mike Stolte’s conclusions after the completion of his CLICK project, which brought a Grade 10 English class together with a group of people from their grandparents’ generation.

The project involved a mix of photography and cross-generational discussions.

“CLICK is the sound of a camera shutter releasing,” Stolte says. “It’s also that warm feeling you get when people truly connect. That’s what people are often missing in their lives in an age where communication technology can often isolate.”

Stolte has just created a video (see below) documenting the two seven-week projects from the spring and fall of 2019, a collaboration between Kalein Hospice and L.V. Rogers Secondary.

In the first session, Stolte asked participants to form smaller groups with equal numbers of old and young, and discuss the themes of social isolation and loneliness, and how they may affect their lives.

After the discussion he asked them all to go out and take photos, over the next week, on those themes and upload them to the CLICK site for group discussion the following week.

“Using photography is a way of allowing people who do not always express these things through traditional means like writing or conversation to bring richness to the issues,” Stolte says.

The group repeated this weekly mix of photography and discussion on themes such as resiliency, gratitude, compassion and mental health.

“I had no idea what the outcomes would be,” Stolte says. “But what we found was that the kids have way more in common with the elders than I would have figured.”

He said many of the seniors talked about how they had experienced loneliness at some time in their lives.

“It was really helpful, I think, for the young people to hear that.”

One of the students says in the video that the discussions and photo assignments brought up subjects he was unaccustomed to thinking about.

“I never really thought about gratitude that much,” he says, “and now I am thinking about the things I am grateful for.”

He says he also had never thought about what he does for his mental health, until the group discussed it and he tried taking photos on that theme.

“All my piano stuff and my music, I just did it, I never thought of it as doing some stuff for mental health, until we talked about it.”

One of the seniors in the video also says he found that taking photos shifted his awareness.

“Going out and trying to capture an image of something every day awoke me to those themes. And it was delightful to meet the students – they responded so well with the photos, with their poetry, their musicianship, their comments.”

The students’ teacher, Emily Browning, says that interaction with the seniors on such subjects “makes [the students] more confident and more likely to engage with the deeper things in life.”

She says her favourite part is the small group interactions.

”Everyone was always really engaged, and the way the seniors took on the role of the wise sharers of knowledge and the students were really able to connect with that, and talk about their personal experiences.”

Stolte says the atmosphere was both serious and light.

“There was a lot of fun and laughter,” he says. “There was way more going on between the elders and the young people than we anticipated. That was really rewarding and rich.”

He said some of the seniors seemed surprised at how much they enjoyed spending time with the students.

“I really enjoyed being around the energy of the young people,” says one senior.

The project was funded by the Columbia Basin Trust and New Horizons Canada.

Stolte says the future of such projects will depend on funding and the pandemic, but he says there is much interest from other communities in B.C. and Canada after he spoke on CLICK at conferences in Vancouver and Ottawa.

Related:

• Kalein’s CLICK program looking for seniors for fall project

Nelson youth and seniors reflect on cross-generational book project

• Grad classes separated by 65 years find shared hopes, fears



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nicole Charlwood represents the Green Party in the campaign for Nelson-Creston. Photo submitted
Nicole Charlwood represents the Green Party in the campaign for Nelson-Creston. Photo submitted
Election 2020: Nicole Charlwood

The first of four interviews with the Nelson-Creston candidates

Ski touring operators are changing how they plan to operate due to the pandemic. Photo: Curtis Cunningham photo
With winter looming, West Kootenay ski tour operators say they’ve adapted

COVID-19 has meant businesses are changing how the upcoming season will run

The crash caused a pole to be dragged down across the highway. File photo
The crash caused a pole to be dragged down across the highway. File photo
RCMP looking for driver who walked away from accident on Highway 3A

The crash dragged down a power pole across the highway

Rob Louie has formed a non-profit organization he says will assist band members in legal disputes with their councils. Photo: Submitted
UPDATED: Indigenous legal organization created to help band members keep councils accountable

Rob Louie has created Band Members Alliance and Advocacy Association of Canada

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin (B.C. Conservative Party)
BC Conservatives leader fights back after BC Liberals leak 2018 workplace harassment case

Sexual harassment case was connected to employee being terminated, WorkSafeBC found

Most Read