Launch Pad creates new podcast to connect with youth through pandemic

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Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Hanover is launching a new podcast series that aims to put a local focus on national issues and will feature interviews with leaders and personalities from Grey-Bruce.

The podcast titled Whats Your 9 to 5 is a project created by youth and intended for a youthful local audience as another communication tool in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a way to highlight and promote local life.

The pivot to a podcast was made after Launch Pad was forced to close its doors and cancel some programming from March to July amid the pandemic.

“We lost all of our touchpoints with youth. We went from being open four days a week and offering field trips to youth during the day . . . and then COVID hit and we shut down. We lost everything that we’ve built,” said Emily Morrison, Launch Pad executive director.

Launch Pad successfully pitched the podcast idea to the Red Cross Emergency Support for Community Organizations Program, in addition to support from Community Foundation Grey Bruce. The centre also received a pair of Canada Summer Job grants, and hired Chris Hoekstra to host the show.


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“He’s a superstar and he’s a local talent,” Morrison said of the show’s host.

Hoekstra will be interviewing various local officials and personalities with the help of Brooklyn Doersam, a co-op student from Ecole John Diefenbaker Senior School.

“It’s going to be a really good time and a good listen,” Hoekstra said.

The weekly show will discuss COVID-19 and its impact on the community, but will also speak on other top-of-mind and current issues such as Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Reconciliation and climate change.

Long-term, the podcast will eventually shift into an exploration of the day-to-day life of interesting people from the region. The podcast will seek to interview people with unique jobs and seek out what those people like about their careers, what their education pathway was and what some of the tips and tricks they used to become successful in their walk of life.

One episode features high-school student Gabe Rossitter who started his own clothing company in support of mental health initiatives. The same episode interviews Taylor Corfield, a coordinator from the Business Enterprise Centre that helps people like Rossitter set up small businesses.

“That’s another way we’re trying to help create that pathway to success, an interview, and then also highlight that organizational support in the same episode,” Morrison said.

Upcoming episodes will feature Dr. Ian Arra, the Grey Bruce Health Unit’s medical officer of health, and Lori Wilder, the director of education for the Bluewater District School Board.

“Our co-op student will actually be a part of that podcast . . . it’s going to be a really great conversation with an actual student from that school board asking questions of their director of education,” said Morrison.

“It’s so youth can get an understanding and hold the belief that our communities are great and that they offer a great place to live and raise a family,” Morrison said. “They go off to school and do their backpacking adventures, but they can see Grey-Bruce as a place to come home.”

The podcast is free to listen to and can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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