Opportunities for young people are still available with the Webster Youth Action Network (WYAN) organization, which has been meeting weekly to plan the "Cars And Guitars Festival 2013," featuring a car show, a day of live rockin' music, a talent show/pageant and an art contest this spring.
"These are really smart kids and I can't give them enough praise for their contributions so far," said WYAN mentor Jared Goeckeritz. "All we need are the participants to jump on this tremendous opportunity."
WYAN members will be provided hands-on training, tools and support as they organize the festival set to take place in downtown Minden this spring.
"When they successfully complete the training, not only will they receive certified recognition from experienced professionals, but imagine the pride they will have when they see the actual event unfold before their eyes, knowing that they made it happen," Goeckeritz said. "This experience can lead to a rewarding career in the future, or furthered education in a field that they never knew could be so fun. How many people have a chance to do something like this at a young age? And for free?
"There is no good excuse not to be involved," he continued. "And we (Webster Partners in Prevention) all know that giving them this opportunity is a step toward reaching our goals... to prevent bad things by inspiring good things."
Despite what has been a lower than expected turnout, Goeckeritz is staying focuses on the big picture, especially with help from his supporters.
"We are going to continue to press on to make things happen," he said. "Every ounce of support and encouraging words from others goes a long way.
"Not everyone can see right now just how great this project can be," he continued. "However, I believe and I have faith that they will see very soon."
Right now, the group's primary focus is gaining more youth involvement.
"With the amazing ideas that have already spawned from the few minds currently involved, I can only imagine what can be accomplished with more," Goeckeritz said.
Goeckeritz is hoping for parents to support more teens and youth to be apart of WYAN and is looking for 10 to 20 more members.
Business sponsors include Shake Those Pounds and The Vault, as well as private donations from individuals are supporting WYAN.
"We have created a business sponsorship program and want to offer it to area businesses soon," Goeckeritz said. "WYAN members will have opportunities to come up with their own fundraising ideas as well."
WYAN members will be under the direction of Goeckeritz and Jeff McGee in creating the event, which will be a mix of music and cars.
Goeckeritz has 15 years experience making original music, eight years experience as a recording and performing singer and guitarist and five years experience coordinating live entertainment events. He is also a graphic designer and writer. He has worked as a promoter for Chula Recording Studios and several recording artists for at least 5 years.
Jeff McGee is originally from Minden, and now lives in Bossier City. He has over 20 years experience as a professional musician (drums, guitar, bass guitar and keyboard), recording and performing with several notable artists. He has equal experience as a sound and lighting engineer for stage performances. He owns and operates one of the area's computer controlled DMX stage light shows including multiple spotlights, scanners, fog machines, strobes and lasers.
"His resume doesn't stop there, but needless to say, he is an expert in several areas significant to WYAN programs," Goeckeritz said. "I have worked with Jeff on music and show projects in the past, and when he learned about WYAN, he was all for it and volunteered immediately to help with the programs."
Both mentors agree that time is the most valuable thing that can be given to someone.
"We want to share our knowledge with a younger audience in hopes that we can inspire great things and create opportunities for them that they may otherwise not have," Goeckeritz said.
For more information find WYAN on Facebook or call Goeckeritz at 205-5759.