Lambrick Park students lead the tan-free grad in BC

Have you heard the scoop on fake tanning? Did you know that the province is currently considering banning the use of tanning beds by minors (under 18)?

Ally & her fellow grads at Lambrick Park Secondary sure know a lot about it. In fact, Ally and her friend Jen lobbied for a tan-free grad as part of a province-wide Canadian Cancer Society campaign – and won with the most grade 12s in the Vancouver Island Region pledging NOT to fake-tan for grad!

You may or may not know about the risks of fake-tanning, but the Canadian Cancer Society can fill you in: “Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is one of the most common cancers in young people between the ages of 15 and 29, and is mostly preventable. Research done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer shows that being exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%.”

The campaign that Ally & Jen ran at Lambrick Park is a great example of young people getting involved in a cause they care about, volunteering their time, and getting their peers on board. I wrote to Ally to ask her if she would consent to being interviewed. She agreed, and the following questions will let you in on their experience.

What motivated you to get involved in this campaign? The Canadian Cancer Society came into my leadership class about two months ago and did a spiel on what they were all about and about their upcoming projects. It seemed like a neat opportunity to get involved. Also having lost my uncle to cancer a few years back it seemed like a good place to start in terms of picking a cause I cared about.

How many volunteer hours do you think you’ve spent getting this campaign together? Throughout the 2 week campaign I think we probably worked between 10 and 15 hours.

What did the process look like at your school? When we began the process we were a little wary of where to start as we were given the go ahead to go in whatever direction we pleased. We decided to go with a fairly conservative approach, at first putting up posters and then setting up a table during lunch so people could come up, ask questions, and hopefully sign the pledge. For our final push, Jen and I put together a slide show presentation and presented it during a grad assembly. (That was the major success piece!)

You’ve won the award for highest grad pledges for tan-free grad in the Vancouver Island Region, how do you think you were able to do that? I think that because we are such a small school and that most of the students know each other was a large contributing factor. Both Jen and I felt comfortable going up to our peers and telling them about the Tan Free campaign. Also we have a few teachers who are very keen on winning prizes, no matter what they happen to be, so they were very helpful when it came to providing us with what we needed, for example, a grad wide assembly to present at! 🙂

How will you celebrate that award? No plans of celebration yet, although I do know quite a few students who are stoked for the photo booth at our dinner dance that we won – so I’m sure they will take a few celebratory photos!

Has anything surprised you about being involved with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tan-Free grad campaign? I was actually very surprised about multiple things along the way. I couldn’t believe the support that we were given, not only by our peers when they signed the pledge, but by the teachers and the Cancer Society volunteers – especially Nancy! It was great to feel that our efforts were actually helping and that people took the time to listen to what we had to say. It wasn’t just the support that shocked me though, I mean after all our school is great at helping out, but even I couldn’t believe some of the facts and dangers that went along with indoor tanning! It’s crazy how damaging it can be.

What have you gotten out of this experience? At the beginning, to be honest, I just saw it as a neat opportunity to get some volunteer experience through a cause that seemed to be something I could relate to. I didn’t expect to get much out of it, but I realize now it is and was a lot more than just a resume booster. I think the main thing I got out of the campaign is perspective. Not only just a new perspective on tanning, but on the whole volunteer world. Up until now, I’ve only been involved in a few programs that are outside of school. I didn’t realize how much is out there! It really gave me a new insight for volunteering and when I have more time, I truly want to become more involved in other opportunities.

Amazing!

So congratulations to the graduating class at Lambrick Park Secondary School, who pledged to go tan-free! And congratulations to Ally, Jen, the Canadian Cancer Society and all those supporters along the way who made this happen with such success.

I’m inspired 🙂

 

 

 

 

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