Parks program helps Golden youth get outside

BC Parks wants the youth of Golden to get outside, and plan an event to get their community to join them.

BC Parks wants the youth of Golden to get outside, and plan an event to get their community to join them.

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.

It helps youth develop outdoor skills and build the confidence and leadership skills to inspire other youth to appreciate and spend time in parks.

“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,” said Environment Minister Terry Lake.

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.

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.

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.

“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,” said Nicola Hill, executive director of CPAWS BC.

Youth can apply online until May 7 at www.getoutsidebc.ca.