Edmonton's NextGen reaches the end of the road
Edmonton's NextGen is dissolving this spring due to a lack of new blood flowing into the organization, going out with a "farewell tour" that includes one last PechaKucha Night.
NextGen, which started 18 years ago as a city administrative council and is now a volunteer-run non-profit, works to "support the growth of a city that is attractive to the next generation." Events were central to its work, said Christine Causing, who was part of the NextGen pilot and became its sole full-time employee during its time as a city initiative.
"NextGen did some really unique and creative things to engage young people, and this was actually before the age of social media," she told Taproot. "NextGen really was about bringing people together in person and creating connections."
But there hasn't been a new stream of volunteers to take NextGen into a new era.
"You need new blood and fresh ideas, especially for something as fast-paced and as public-facing as NextGen. You need to have those newer voices and perspectives onboard to continue to stay relevant," said NextGen vice-president Anika Zepp.
"Through the pandemic, we have had great engagement," she said. "But we haven't been overly successful in retaining new volunteers, and that makes the succession planning a challenge. I love that I've been involved since 2014, but I'm a little bit burnt out, to be honest."
Before formally wrapping up in May, NextGen will host its 40th PechaKucha Night (PKN) on March 30 at TELUS World of Science, followed by a CityJam on April 28 at the Muttart Conservatory. CityJams have traditionally been a recruitment event, but this final instalment will be a chance for NextGenners new and old to gather and bid adieu.