BC Parks is accepting applications for its innovative youth leadership program Get Outside BC. Piloted in 2011, Get Outside BC was the first of its kind in Canada. Forty youth aged 14-18 from across the province will be selected to participate in this year's summer program.
Get Outside BC helps youth develop outdoor skills and build the confidence and leadership skills to inspire other youth to appreciate and spend time in parks.
The program begins with a youth leadership summit at the North Vancouver Outdoor School in Squamish July 3-7. Youth will participate in a variety of skill development workshops including outdoor safety and trip planning, bear awareness training and camping, and learning how to inspire others and plan events.
BC Parks has provided $80,000 to fund Get Outside BC over two years. In its second year, Get Outside BC 2012 is a collaborative project between BC Parks, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - BC Chapter (CPAWS-BC), in partnership with Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Child and Nature Alliance.
Youth who participated in last year's program said the summit alone met or exceeded their expectations and all would participate in the program again if given the opportunity.
After the summit, youth are expected to plan and lead their own event with at least 10 other youth from their community in celebration of International Youth Day on Sunday, Aug. 12. Get Outside BC will provide up to $200 to support each event.
Some of last year's youth-led events include: a day in the park with a local daycare at James Chabot Provincial Park near Windermere, a beach cleanup at Boundary Bay Regional Park near Tsawwassen, and a scout trip into Golden Ears Provincial Park near Maple Ridge.
The program wraps up with regional events that enable youth to share stories and plan for future outdoor activities.
Youth can apply online until May 7, 2012 at www.getoutsidebc.ca
Environment Minister Terry Lake -
"BC Parks needs to engage youth and inspire a new generation with passion and caring for parks. We're doing this with Get Outside BC. In collaboration with our amazing partners, the first project was delivered with great success in 2011 and we hope to repeat that success again this year. "
Nicola Hill, Executive Director, CPAWS -BC -
"CPAWS is excited to be a part of the Get Outside BC project again for its second year. We recognize the importance of engaging youth in the conservation movement, and Get Outside BC reaches youth in every corner of the province. We need to save wilderness, but we also need to foster its defenders."
Apply online to participate in Get Outside BC at CPAWS-BC: www.getoutsidebc.ca
Child and Nature Alliance hosts an online Canada-wide Natural Leaders Alliance for youth: www.childnature.ca/nla
BC Parks: www.bcparks.ca
Ministry of Environment