When COVID hit us, the world changed. Not just in the moment it hit, or in the aftermath of its destruction, but in how we do and approach things now. Going out for a nice meal or heading out to the movies or getting together with friends and going to the beach or a concert. Nothing is as simple anymore. We have been so restricted for so long that it has fundamentally changed the way many of us do things. Nowhere is that more acute than in the lives of young people. For many of them they cannot even remember when life was “normal.” For many COVID has been a major part of their entire life experience. From not being able to go to school in person for months one year to going to altered courses with altered class sizes in the next year. It changed the way they did everything they did. Get together with friends? Nope. For graduating seniors? A completely stripped-down graduation experience with limited family members and no interaction with their own classmates. Prom? Yeah, right. College life? Forget about it. Everything became online. Young people’s worlds change irrevocably with COVID. Academically, athletically artistically and even with community service. They couldn’t do any of the things they loved to do at least not without massive restrictions. Athletics had to be non-contact and you couldn’t play other schools. Universities cancelled entire seasons for all sports. They had no choice.
What did young people lose?
· Cut off from all in-person social interaction with friends
· No classes to virtual classes to limited classes for a year and a half
· No athletics to limited athletics with no games against other schools
· No arts programs to limited programs with social distancing
· Virtual graduations to graduations without their classmates
· No dating to limited dating with nowhere to go
The arts pretty much shut down for months. Music, writing, acting, dancing, singing, directing, video editing, animation. They could still do all those things, but they could not do them together. Arts became an escape room with no way out. Everything became zoom calls. Young people lost all their creative outlets in an interactive group environment. All they were left with were video games and posting photos or videos on social media. Kids stopped leaving their rooms because that’s what their social life was relegated to. Now things are finally starting to open back up, but what is the long-term cost? How do young people who have become conditioned to COVID slowly find their way back to normal? Or at least a new normal? The reality is schools will slowly start to open back up and sports and arts and other programs will slowly start to get back to normal. But it will be a slow transition and how do young people make up for what they’ve already lost?
Samwel’s Place was created to be a starting place for young people aged 13-24 to get back to normal. From Arts to Athletics to Academics to Community Services. The William Quinter Society created Samwel’s Place to encourage young people to get back to their normal lives by encouraging them to chase their dreams again. Samwel’s Place will become a virtual and in-person hub where young people can use their talents to compete with their peers and earn scholarships to post-secondary schools. Whether that is university, community college. trade schools, art, film or music schools, or anything in-between, Samwel’s Place will give young people that outlet to display their talents. And we particularly want to encourage young people from marginalized groups to highlight their talents. BIPOC, LGBTQ2S, young women, at-risk youth, single parent youth, young people dealing with mental health challenges. Show the world what you can do in a non-judgmental, bully free zone.
To start with, we will run contests for short story writing, singing, video editing, songwriting, acting, dance, and music. The music contest will consist of anyone playing classical instruments (strings, horns, piano, etc.). All video entries must be two minutes long or less and they will be judged in each section by experts in that form of art.
Winners will be awarded scholarships at the end of each contest rotation. For arts it will be twice a year while Academics, Athletics and Community Service will be awarded annually. This is a chance for young people to take back a little normal in their lives and have fun by showing off their talents. Have fun and be creative! And keep watching this website for updates.