Four years ago I had this idea. Actually, the idea started before that, but it was four years ago that I thought this idea might just work.
I'd better start at the beginning. I work with teenagers. I never had aspirations of working with today's youth. In fact, if someone had told me ten years ago that I would be working with teens, I would have died laughing. I hadn't been a particularly great teen, and I most certainly don't look back on my teen years with romantic nostalgia. I was shy. I was awkward. And I could never quite find a way to fit into my own skin. But like all teens, I grew up and figured a few things out along the way.
Then I started working at a local high school. It took two months for the teens to identify me as an employee and not a student. Then it happened; my office became a hangout for making it through study hall, lunch, passing periods. And as I sat there every day and listened to their drama, helping with homework, I realized teenagers were absolutely amazing creatures. They are talented, ambitious, passionate, resilient, and creative. And I loved working with them. So here I am, a teen librarian in a position whereI get to learn, laugh, grow, and create right along with them.
Back to my idea...along with a love of books, I have a love for digital media, videos in-particular. I love the process of creating, starting with research and writing all the way to editing and sharing your final project. And I was meeting teens who loved the process as well. So why not give them a platform to share their creations with the community.
A teen film festival would not only support student filmmakers, but it would provide a perfect opportunity to build a working relationship with the local school system. So I wrote a proposal and approached the high school media specialist (hint, hint: you might have seen her in a video or two).
Fast forward four years...last Thursday was our 4th Annual Teen Film Festival, and what started out as a festival with a library system and two schools, has become a county(+) event with the help of a second library system. There is nothing like watching the light of possibility and accomplishment shine in a teens eyes. I get to see it every single day. I get to be inspired every single day. I get to work with truly amazing individuals that push me outside of my comfort zone and help me make my ideas come true.
In a week where giving thanks is on our minds, I wanted to take my own minute to thank my mentors, co-workers, and friends that make getting up and going to work every day a pleasure and an honor. I have learned that if you approach every situation, every idea, every possibility with a servant's heart, amazing things can happen.
We'll be sharing more about the Teen Film Festival in the next installment of Q & A: The Librarian Way, but for today, thank to the wonderful ladies who helped, once again, create a truly remarkable event that put the creative, talented, ambitious, passionate teens in our community in the spotlight.