Free outdoor leadership program offered to Kimberley’s youth this summer

Free outdoor leadership program offered to Kimberley’s youth this summer

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-BC) and Get Outside BC (GOBC) are yet again bringing a collaborative outdoor leadership program to youth in Kimberley.

The program teaches youth from ages 14 to 18 about hands-on skills in wilderness survival, leadership and conservation, in order to prepare them to lead projects that connect other youth to wild spaces.

Since 2011, they have cultivated hundreds of young natural leaders across British Columbia. GOBC is a free program, ensuring that all youth can apply, regardless of socio-economic status.

GOBC provides youth with the tools and resources to develop an enduring connection to the outdoors and a lifelong identity as a leader in conservation.

CPAWS-BC says they believe that in order to ensure conservation is a long-term priority, they need to equip the next generation of youth to feel safe exploring nature, to defend socially, culturally and biologically important spaces, and to lead their peers along on a similar journey. CPAWS-BC also strives to ensure that all youth have these skills and experiences, “not just a privileged few.”

The GOBC program runs from July 30 to Oct 28, and there are three phases to the program.

Phase one is the Youth Outdoor Leadership Camp, running from July 30 to Aug 3 at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, North of Nelson. Phase one runs for four nights and five days, giving campers the opportunity to participate in leadership and outdoor skill building workshops, try new activities, and learn to plan outdoor adventure for when they return home.

Phase two is the Youth-led Outdoor Initiatives and Outdoor Adventures phase, running from Aug 3 to Oct 28 where youth will continue building leadership and outdoor skills. Within each month, they will attend bi-weekly group meetings focused on skill building, as well as a separate gathering revolving around the outdoors, such as canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, etc. Each participant will lead an outdoor event that inspires their peers to get outside. Youth have access to $150 bursary to support their events and are encouraged to work with other community groups.

Phase three is a celebration, and takes place on Oct 28. Youth participants, alumni, mentors and GOBC Staff will gather to celebrate achievements, offer feedback on each other’s projects, and participate in one final outdoor adventure together.

The application deadline is Sunday, June 4 at 11:59p.m. For more information and to apply for the program, contact Kimberley’s Get Outside Coordinator, Lori Joe at 250-432-5536.

– With files from Alana Wittman and Get Outside BC.