Kimberley City Council heard a presentation from Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook at their regular meeting on Monday, March 14, 2022.
The subject was the Youth Climate Corps, which hires young people to help them get experience in jobs related to the environment and climate change. Hopefully after working for YCC the young adults then go on to a career in a field related to climate action.
The YCC program has been around for three years now, although 2021 was its first year in Kimberley Cranbrook. It also operates in the West Kootenay.
Wildsight representative Tim Chapman told council that the program began with two people and an idea and now has three full time staff to oversee the six to ten youth hired each summer.
The idea, he says, is to guide youth into the environmental field.
“It’s challenging to get first jobs in any field, and we ask for no prior experiences. We give them the training to launch their career. There are endless avenues they can pursue.”
The program was created on the idea that climate change is the greatest challenge of this generation.
YCC looks for partners to work with the team. Last year, for instance, the team worked with well-known fire ecologist Bob Grey, as he built data on wildfire reduction work. The team sampled re-accumulation of fuel in areas that had already been treated. That data will then help fire ecologists see how forests react to treatment over time, and how often they may have to be treated again.
The team also worked with the Food Recovery Depots in Kimberley and Cranbrook,
“Food security is a really important subject,” Chapman said. “And it also puts the team in touch with the more vulnerable members of the community.”
The team also worked with Living Lakes on water sampling up the Columbia Valley.
“The more fields we can expose them to, the more successful the program will be,” Chapman said. “We’ve had nothing but positive feedback.”
He thanks council for a letter of support they provided for more fire mitigation work this coming summer. Funding had already been secured for that, he said.
The goal is to move into a third community by 2023, and to expand the program throughout the Columbia Basin.
Last year’s crew was mostly local young people, but Chapman says as the program becomes more well known, inquiries are now coming from all over Canada.
The program is hiring now, Chapman said.
As a condition of funding partnerships, applicants must:
• Be between 17 – 30 years of age at the start of the contract
• Be unemployed or precariously employed (employed seasonally, casually, part time, or at risk of losing your employment)
• Be legally entitled to work in Canada (Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person)
• Fully vaccinated against COVID-19
Applications are open until April 11, 2022. For more information on how to apply visit https://wildsight.ca/programs/youth-climate-corps/youth-climate-corps-kimberley-cranbrook/