Get Outside Ontario 2013
Get Outside is an environmental youth leadership program established by CPAWS BC in 2011 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary celebrations of BC Parks and Parks Canada. After two pilot years the program was brought to Ontario in 2013. Liz Brower was hired to facilitate this exciting new venture for CPAWS Wildlands League. With the generous financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Mountain Equipment Coop, a team of seasoned trip leaders to support her, tremendous volunteers and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we welcomed more than 20 youth from across southern Ontario to the proposed Rouge National Urban Park for a week of environmental leadership camp.
The purpose of Get Outside is to connect youth to the outdoors, providing both a gateway experience for youth engagement with Ontario’s parks and wild spaces and opportunities for youth to develop skills to network within their own school and community, becoming natural leaders for nature. Through this experience the Get Outside Ontario participants gain confidence, discover new skills and develop talents, learn to work with teams towards tangible results, foster hope and deliver positive outcomes through dialogue and mutual respect.
This program is a unique three tiered experience:
Phase 1: The Summit
Phase 2: The Community Activity
Phase 3: The Reunion
PHASE I – GET OUTSIDE ONTARIO YOUTH SUMMIT
For one week in July, 2013, 20 youth from across the province travelled to the then-proposed Rouge Urban National Park to explore many facets of environmentalism and campaigning, learning to plan a community event, green mentors workshop, develop outdoors and leadership skills, meet new friends with a common passion for nature from across the province!
PHASE II – PARTICIPANTS PLAN AND HOST THEIR OWN OUTDOOR EVENTS AND PROJECTS
From August to September, in honor of International Youth Day in August, participants continued the development and delivery of a community event to help others Get Outside and connect with nature. Activities ranged from beach clean up and bee talks.
PHASE III – THE REUNION
In October 2013, the Get Outside Ontario participants reunited in at Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto, to share their victories and challenges, best practices and determinations. The kids were SO happy to see each other again. There were a lot of new friendships cherished as a result of this unique experience.
Unfortunately, due to lack of funding in 2014 and 2015 the Get Outside Ontario program was not able to run. We do see great value in this program and hope it will make a return.