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Diploma Grads Hope To Attract More Kids To Agriculture

The Canadian Association of Diploma in Agriculture Programs (CADAP) is announcing a national initiative entitled “Ditch the Office” to increase knowledge of agricultural career opportunities among high school students across Canada. “Ditch the Office” presents 15-to 18-year-olds with information about agriculture and the exciting options that are available to postsecondary agriculture grads.

Agricultural programs across Canada struggle to compete for new students in a country that is becoming increasingly urbanized and as a result, much less aware of the potential a career in agriculture can offer them.

Getting kids excited about agriculture can be a tall order, but one “Ditch the Office” intends to overcome. “The key is to reach the teens with messages they understand and in a medium they like,” said Lance Johnson, a senior consultant with Drive Solutions Corp. which has been contracted to develop and manage the campaign.

“We’ve created a very sophisticated platform that will allow participants to do a little research, shape the messaging into their own words and then broadcast this message across a whole host of social media sites that teenagers are currently using – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Delicious and more.”

CADAP is putting up over $10,000 in cash and prizes for a series of contests that will run for six weeks starting March 1, 2010. At the heart of the campaign is a video contest that allows kids the opportunity to submit videos containing their opinions or thoughts on agriculture and how it relates to their daily lives.

Teenagers can also earn contest points for a number of activities they perform on the campaign’s website – www.ditchtheoffice.ca.

“We want to engage them all, not just the ones who like to create videos,” explains Johnson. “For this reason we devised a clever point structure where we reward them for getting engaged in the discussion…in the learning.” Points are then used to calculate weekly winners. There’s also a $2,500 grant that’ll be awarded to the school with the greatest participation points.

The campaign starts March 1 and runs through to May 16, 2010 with the first winner announced March 8 and then weekly thereafter.

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