Rather than remind everyone how the Girl Guides announced last week they are now selling off their camps, or that a major Toronto school board has taken canoe-tripping off their list of outdoor clubs, here is some good news about how some Canadian youth are still playing out in the woods—in a major way.
The Canadian Conservation Corps program is a huge success right now. They just finished their first group and each participant is smiling from ear-to-ear about the experience.
The initiative was announced in January 2018 by the Prime Minister and was created by the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
“Young people should have more chances to serve their communities, while gaining valuable skills and experience. That is what Canada Service Corps is all about. If we’re going to get this right, we need to hear from young Canadians. Together, let’s inspire a new culture of service in Canada and build a better country, one community at a time.” —Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Youth
Here’s how it works:
For nine months, a group of Canadian youth (age 18 to 30) will participate in a three-step outdoor program.
They first embark on a wilderness expedition in a remote section of Canada: sea kayaking along the coast; backpacking through the Canadian Rockies; dogsledding through snow-bound national parks. This stage is all about discovery, whether it’s learning about conservation or finding out more about themselves and what it means to be part of a successful team.
After immersing in the wild for a couple of weeks and reconnecting to nature, they then take part in field-work where participants team up with environmental experts in three broad categories: habitat creation and restoration, wildlife management and environmental science. This is an awesome way for the youth to gain hands-on conservation and environmental field-learning.
They conclude by taking part in community outreach in their home towns to help inspire their peers and other youth to enhance their environment through service projects. It’s a “pay it forward” initiative they develop and deliver, built around a conservation issue of their choice.
In the end, they’ll have a deeper appreciation for the natural world and a great sense of personal accomplishment.
The motto for the Canadian Conservation Corps is “Change Your Life. Change Your World.”
How cool is that?!