Penticton youth are helping draw other young people to the region using a Travel Penticton social media campaign. (file photo)

Penticton students become tourism influencers

A total of 128 students have completed the program to date

Penticton students are using their social media talents to attract young people to the Travel Penticton’s Youth Influencer Program.

In the last year, Travel Penticton has been working with Grade 7 and 8 students from KVR Middle School on the Youth Influencer Program to write blogs, make social media posts, videography and design. In total, 128 students have completed the program to date, reads a recent media release.

The Travel Penticton Youth Influencers partnered with KVR Middle School to create the program to develop a network of tourism influencers within the local youth market while providing participating students with learning and personal development opportunities. The goal is to work with the students and encourage them to become ‘digital influencers’ and promote their activities and experiences across a range social media platforms.

The program seeks to encourage pride in the community, promote an active lifestyle and inspire local environmental stewardship, which are all vital to the sustainability of tourism in the region.

The Youth Influencer blogs published on the VisitPenticton website have received a total of 14,979 views to date.

READ MORE: Travel Penticton taps into youth influencers

The Instagram account, which was started just last fall, already has 82 followers. To gain followers, students are taking on an “Instawalk” around the local area and tasked with taking pictures and coming up with a captivating message and unique hashtags.

For the digital design element of the program, students use Photoshop to create a new image for our iconic, ‘Peach on the Beach’.

For the video blogs, Travel Penticton works with local tourism business owners to arrange field trips for the Youth Influencers. While on site the students have the opportunity to learn about the business, interview the owners, try new activities and have a lot of fun. Some of the best vlogs have been posted on the Travel Penticton YouTube Channel.

The Travel Penticton Youth Influencer Facebook page is used to share the students work with our local community and tourism partners throughout the province.

According to the release, the program has received positive attention from Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Tourism Industry Association of BC, Destination BC, City of Penticton, Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce, the School Board and local media, reads the release.

READ MORE: Travel Penticton holds second AGM

Some students were very comfortable in front of the camera or taking the editorial lead and others were much happier behind the scenes, but they all had the opportunity to get engaged and learn new, transferable skills that will be a great boost to their resume’s in the future, reads the press release.

Great care is taken to monitor and control the posting of all content on our Youth Influencer digital platforms and student work is only published with parental consent. The program is a great way to introduce young people to social media in a safe and positive way.

Once they have completed the program, students receive a certificate recognizing their valuable contribution to tourism in the region. Buttons, which will identify participants to our local businesses and encourage them to engage with this growing influential youth group, are also being introduced.

KVR Middle School teacher Rochelle Hannon recently praised the initiative after a field trip.

“I can’t tell you enough how happy I am with how things went. From a teacher’s point-of-view, I saw some amazing learning and collaboration happening! Students who weren’t taking on leadership roles in class started to do so on site (at Desmios Escape Rooms). Students who were dead set against being on camera ended up videoing themselves. Students who may struggle at times to keep on task in class were extremely engaged and respectful,” she said.

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Robin Grant
Reporter, Penticton Western News
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