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Rain or Shine?

Photo courtesy of FreeStockPhotos.biz

As the Youth Public Programs Coordinator at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, weather can affect my job a fair bit. I often plan programs that give youth opportunities to move around and explore new places. When I’m planning an outdoor program I definitely consider the possibility of bad weather and plan alternative indoor activities.

Last summer, I coordinated Focus on Youth, a youth photography program in connection with our temporary exhibition Shaping Canada: Exploring our Cultural Landscapes. The program took place in and around the Museum, throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality and beyond (at least when it came to the photographs inspired by the program)! In essence, it gave youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dartmouth and the YMCA Centre for New Immigrants in Fairview the chance to come together and explore the theme of cultural landscapes through photography.

The weather last summer in Halifax was extraordinary; weeks upon weeks of sunshine and blue skies. However, this was not the case on August 2: Day one of Focus on Youth. The dark clouds rolled in and the weather forecast called for a full day of rain. The morning program included a guided tour of Shaping Canada: Exploring Our Cultural Landscapes as well as a presentation from photographer Nicole Landry. No problem, both indoor activities—check and check. The intention for the afternoon was to walk to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market for lunch and then explore the Halifax waterfront, giving youth the opportunity to take photos of the surrounding cultural landscape.

At 9:30 a.m. on August 2, 2012, I faced the inevitable question: “Are we still going outside?” My standard answer to this inquiry when leading programs is “We’ll wait and see—not if it’s pouring rain.” I find this gives hope to youth with high levels of weather tolerance while calming those with low levels of weather tolerance. In either case my hope is that the youth walk away with the following thought: “Ennnh, I guess that’s reasonable.”

So did we go outside? Yes, we did! By lunchtime the showers had passed and we enjoyed a beautiful walk along the Halifax waterfront. At 3:30 p.m. we arrived back at the Museum safe and sound and pretty much dry. Well, except for those youth who ran through the splash fountain; see photo of Maryam below.

Shaqueil, Mohammad and Imane look at their photos during the Harbourwalk. Photo courtesy of Nicole Landry.

Maryam at the splash fountain. Photo courtesy of Imane, YMCA Centre for Immigrant Programs.