Belmont leadership students Sharif McArthur

Off the Grid festival promises to be off the hook

Festival brings students from Greater Victoria to Fort Rodd Hill to discuss ideas about a sustainable future

The Off the Grid Festival is back this Friday (May 25) for its second time around, inspiring youth for a greener future.

The Off the Grid festival brings students from across Greater Victoria to discuss ideas about a sustainable future. The morning is full of seminars while the evening features a concert at Fort Rodd Hill.

Last year, high schoolers attended seminars led by adults at City Centre Park.

This time around, youths are inspiring other youths at Royal Roads University.

“The event, more or less, outgrew the (previous) facility,” said Cindy Moyer, former director of Climate Action West Shore.

Several Belmont students will share ideas about youth and global activism.

Ravi Parmar, 17, will discuss his experiences of leading a student walkout in support of two new high schools on the West Shore.

When Parmar got involved in efforts to get funding for the schools, “People told me there definitely wouldn’t be two new schools and we wouldn’t get an answer for 10 to 15 years … It took eight months.”

The province has agreed to fund two new high schools thanks to the work of many people in the community, including Parmar.

At the festival, Parmar hopes to send the message: “You have the chance to get involved and find solutions.”

Whether it’s trying to change the minds of provincial government or young kids, these students will share their experiences in hopes of inspiring other youths to step up for a cause.

Sharif McArthur organized an Earth Day assembly at Sangster elementary school in Colwood with other Belmont students.

“(The young kids) could see that it’s cool to recycle and it was inspiring to them,” McArther said. “I was inspired by older teens when I was kid.”

Other students will be speaking of experience of helping in foreign countries such as Nepal and Mexico.

The Off the Grid Festival is organized by Youth for Environmental Stewardship B.C.

When, where and who

• Fort Rodd Hill, 630 Fort Rodd Hill Rd.

• 4 to 7 p.m., May 25

• No cost and open to the public

• Local bands – including The Archers, Mindil Beach Markets and Fir Cone – will perform on a stage powered by people riding bikes.

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