Youth Climate Corps started in 2020 as a program of Wildsight, a grassroots organization dedicated to protecting biodiversity and encouraging sustainable communities in Canada's Columbia and Rocky Mountain regions. The inaugural program was based in Nelson, BC with fourteen youth crew members working for four months on a variety of climate projects in the surrounding West Kootenay region.
In 2021, Wildsight is operating two Youth Climate Corps crews: one in our original West Kootenay location and one in nearby Kimberley/Cranbrook. YCC projects are community-based and implemented with local partners. By connecting organizations and building on existing work, Youth Climate Corps has been able to complete effective projects that contribute to global mitigation efforts while enhancing local resilience and education. Among other recognition, the inaugural Youth Climate Corps crew received the 2020 Sustainability Leadership Award from the City of Nelson.
YCC projects focus on wildfire risk reduction, local food security, energy retrofits, ecosystem restoration, community engagement and education, and youth leadership development. Crew members earn certifications, gain valuable work experience, make connections with professional mentors, and get real work done. After spending a few months advancing on-the-ground projects, every YCC season concludes with youth-led engagement projects that connect the crew with the wider community. Past crew member projects reflect the diversity of the crew members themselves and include a film about climate grief, articles written for popular magazines and newspapers, a major technical research report on municipal building policy, and more.
Wildsight operates the Youth Climate Corps in BC's Columbia Basin and is working to grow the West Kootenay and Kimberley/Cranbrook crews while expanding to new communities in the region. For more information, please contact Wildsight.
With two successful years in two different locations under our belt, Youth Climate Corps is ready to expand to new communities in new places. We look forward to partnering with new organizations to do so. We have developed a framework to generate tangible community benefits while training the next generation of climate leaders. We are presently developing a system to support organizations that have the desire to address projects that contribute to climate resilience by empowering youth in communities across Canada.
Please reach out to us if you would like to see Youth Climate Corps in your community.