This past weekend, I had the pleasure of helping out with Ontario Nature’s Youth Council Leadership Retreat. The weekend brought together a highly motivated and diverse group of 25 Youth Council members, all eager to promote a healthier natural environment.
Only a few years older than many in the group, I was blown away by how informed and motivated they are. With representatives from all across the province, this meeting at Kettleby Valley Camp, near Newmarket, built on the momentum generated during the first year-and-a-half of the Council’s existence.
Led by the Nature Guardians program coordinator, Sarah Hedges, this group diligently created an organizational structure and began brainstorming ideas for campaigns – mixed in with a healthy dose of climbing rock walls, ropes courses and being flung into the air on a specialty blanket.
As the school year comes to a close, the Council’s work is just getting started. They are currently planning their upcoming Youth Summit, an event that brings together up to 100 youth in late September for a weekend to discuss and learn about biodiversity and environmental justice. The summit, designed-by and delivered-to high school-aged students, promises to be another unforgettable weekend.
The Youth Council’s mission is to build a diverse provincial network of youth dedicated to inspiring, connecting and educating our communities while protecting wild species and wild spaces. Not satisfied with being the environmental champions of tomorrow; this group is acting now, leading the way to a healthier province for all.
Josh joined the Ontario Nature team in the spring of 2011 as the greenway program coordinator.