Challenges, Chainsaws and Facing the Climate Crisis – Wildsight
Young people today are fully aware of the climate crisis and want to be part of the solution. This is emphasized again and again in every climate report and with every climate event by those who run our society. But often these words are not accompanied by tangible opportunities for young people to engage in this effort while meeting their own needs to earn a living and grow personally and professionally.
Wildsight’s Youth Climate Corps (YCC) works to solve this problem by giving young adults the tools they need to tackle the climate crisis, empowering young people to tackle tangible local projects while bridging the gap between knowledge and action.
YCC offers young people the opportunity to make a difference locally, earn a living and develop skills to prepare them for meaningful work and engaged citizenship. Our teams are mentored by industry experts and work in collaboration with community groups that are already taking action in various fields. These experiences allow our teams to envision and act on initiatives aimed at mitigating climate change at the local level.
We recently completed our second YCC season in the Kimberley/Cranbrook region, with the six-member team completing a huge list of projects, from creating wetlands and food security to mitigating wildfires in forest and public education.
“Every few weeks we were doing something different. I really liked the diversity in the work, it made it exciting”, shares Gabriel L’Heureux, member of the team. “There is not a single project that I have not enjoyed.”
Tim Chapman, YCC Kimberley/Cranbrook coordinator, said the 2022 crew were enthusiastic, energetic and ready to learn a whole new set of skills. It was a steep learning curve for most of the crew, but they rose to the challenge well.
“The team was flexible and willing to act on short notice to get the job done with enthusiasm,” says Tim. “This summer has been filled with a great diversity of projects; being able to offer the team such a variety of projects was exciting!
As they learned new skills (every crew member admits learning to use a chainsaw was the most rewarding difficult skill they learned and fun to use!), different projects and working in small groups for six months, the crew members saw personal growth too.
“The program turned out to be everything we imagined and more. It was a great opportunity for learning and personal development,” says Ivy Desbiolles. “I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone and try things that I had never done before.”
We intentionally created Youth Climate Corps to be a paid employment opportunity, to support young adults looking to launch a career, and to show the value of their time by helping to make a difference for climate action. The Kimberley/Cranbrook crew members left this year’s program feeling inspired and better prepared for potential career opportunities.
“The experience I gained over the season with YCC has been invaluable in terms of hands-on experience, building community connections and using teamwork and leadership to resolve issues on the field, even in difficult conditions outside”, shares Kimberley Crockett.
While we’re wiping dirt from chainsaws, hanging up safety gear and putting away other tools used this season, we’re already looking forward to 2023. We’ve got a stack of big projects planned, and we know the crew of the season next generation is already out there somewhere, just waiting for an opportunity to step up and take their turn to tackle this climate crisis together.