Kate Jamieson, right, participates in a photography workshop with fellow Youth Speak News writers Jacklyn Gilmor, Marie Gamboa and Mirjana Villaneuve at the YSN 2018 retreat. Photo by Jean Ko Din

Speaking out: YSN helped me grow in faith

By  Kate Jamieson, Speaking Out
  • August 28, 2018

This summer is a time of change in my life as I move from high school to university. It is also the end of my time as a Youth Speak News reporter. As I begin my new journey in life, it it a good time to reflect on what this past year has meant to me.

Unlike most of the other YSN reporters, I never planned to become a journalist or work in media. For me, YSN was about connecting with my faith. 

As a teenager, my faith can be shaky at times. As I discover more about myself I also question my beliefs. This opportunity was about being in a supportive faith community where I could learn about writing, but also maybe more than that. 

Over the past 12 months, the YSN team has pushed me to be my best. There have been challenges and triumphs. 

YSN has challenged me in a way that, as a high achieving student, I had not expected. I didn’t just hand in an assignment. My work was critiqued before I would have to resubmit. Although this sounds like an obvious part of the writing process, it was a difficult part of the process. I had to reassess what I had written to keep the reader engaged; and the reader was not a teacher I had known for years. These readers were going to be critical and expect my best work. 

This taught me to work harder. I moved out of my comfort zone. After my first article, I learned how to ask better questions, take better pictures and overall have a better “writer’s intuition.” 

One of my highlights was covering the abortion debate at Wilfrid Laurier University in April. 

This was an interesting event to cover as a writer, but also as a Catholic. I had the opportunity to talk to people about their beliefs and people were willing to talk. I’ve never been to a place where the question of where a person stands on abortion is an acceptable conversation starter. 

Although at first it felt strange, I soon became amazed and engaged. I sat next to a man who talked about his Christian faith and how that influenced his life. Through the writing process for that article I found myself reflecting on my own faith and how I proclaim it. 

The YSN retreat continued this development. The workshops were wonderful for learning about media and what goes into the creation of a paper, or show, or podcast. However, meeting the fellow writers was equally important for me. 

In the past few years, I have noticed a lack in youth involvement in my church. It can be discouraging to see this. YSN was an opportunity to connect with people who are strong in their faith, who have some similar experiences and yet are all unique in their expression and stories of their faith. 

YSN for me was so much more than just a job as a reporter. It was a way to develop my faith and I thank God for that.

(Jamieson, 18, is a first-year integrated science student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.)

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