Core Motivations of Youth Climate Corps
For the people that don't know much about Youth Climate Corps (YCC), YCC provides young people with opportunities to make a difference in their communities while earning living wages and developing skills that prepare them for meaningful work and engaged citizenship. By taking part in climate action projects that have a real impact on their communities, YCC participants improve their own lives while becoming part of something bigger than themselves.
We live in a dynamic and uncertain time. The pandemic has dramatically changed the workforce and job prospects for young people, and the effects of a destabilizing climate threaten our future. In these times of disruption, we also have opportunities to change our systems and build a more sustainable, just, and brighter future.
Youth are more concerned about their futures than ever. Much work is required to reduce emissions in Canadian communities and adapt to climate change quickly. Today's young people need meaningful jobs to earn living wages and gain skills, connections and experience while making a difference. To bridge these needs, Canada must launch a national Youth Climate Corps.
Past, Now & Future
As the pandemic extinguished jobs in the summer of 2020, a grassroots group of community members around Nelson, B.C., envisioned a climate-focused youth employment program hosted by Wildsight, a regional non-profit organization with deep roots. Fourteen crew members under 30 spent four months protecting the city's water pipeline from wildfire, boosting local food security, restoring riparian ecosystems, enhancing energy efficiency, and engaging community members and local leaders.
From 2020 and 2021 successes, Youth Climate Corps is currently operated in two communities in the Columbia Basin and has received tremendous feedback from the alumni, the communities and the municipalities with whom we work and build meaningful relationships.
During this season, crew members receive a selection of certifications: WHMIS, Bear Awareness certificate, OFA Level 1, S100 / 185, Basic Chainsaw Operation and Maintenance, REnEW certificate of completion, and Fall Protection certificate.
The crew also participates in training from local experts. The topics include an introduction to food sustainability and equality, gardening design basics, and exposure to Ktunaxa perspectives on the land. YCC also focuses on leadership and communication skills, including social media strategy coaching, knowledge of local ecosystems and how climate change is impacting this area both presently and in the future, introduction to levels of government, civic engagement, political leadership training, community partners and methods and coaching for community organizing and engagement.
Place-based and community-specific job and leadership training is an important aspect of YCC, and alumni continue to utilize this upon completion of YCC.
You can follow the journey of the West Kootenay & Kimberly-Cranbrook crews hosted by Wildsight by visiting Wildsight Program YCC. Also active on social media.
Youth Climate Corps Across BC
We have seen the tremendous benefits of Youth Climate Corps to communities and youth. We want to see young people across BC working to combat the climate crisis and adapt to communities. This vision cannot be done alone, but you can help.
You can reach out to us if you want to see Youth Climate Corps in your community.