Wildsight launches West Kootenay Youth Climate Corps
Wildsightis looking to hire 10 West Kootenay youth, ages 19-29, for a new program focused on climate action and youth leadership.
Responding to both climate change and COVID-19, Wildsight’s goal is to empower young people to inspire and implement solutions to the climate crisis through employment, training, mentorship, and leadership development.
From mid-September to mid-January, the inaugural Youth Climate Corps (YCC) crew will tackle a variety of projects related to both climate crisis mitigation and adaptation throughout the West Kootenays including community wildfire risk reduction, local food security and sustainability, energy efficiency and sustainability, and youth leadership.
Anticipated projects include clearing away dangerous forest fuels that threaten key community assets, building community food production infrastructure, helping retrofit buildings to reduce energy consumption, and stepping into leadership roles to advance community engagement and momentum around climate crisis solutions.
Along the way, crew members will learn about the many dimensions of climate change and train in both “hard” and “soft” skills beneficial for careers that are personally fulfilling and advance effective on-the-ground climate action. Crew members will receive an $8,000 stipend for their participation and completion of this program, in addition to extensive training, mentoring, and work experience.
Though several West Kootenay locals had long envisioned a Youth Climate Corps program to accelerate local climate action, the COVID-19 pandemic helped create the urgency and opportunity to move the YCC from a nascent idea toward implementation.
“The Youth Climate Corps is about empowering young people with a sense of agency,” says Richard Klein, one of the program creators.
“They will build safer, more resilient communities while they get their hands dirty and learn new skills. YCC crew members will help mobilize their communities to take action on the climate crisis we face.”
In June, YCC program leaders convened a day-long workshop to explore how to build a program that is impactful and responsive to young people’s needs. Twelve local youth joined with seven community leaders to brainstorm ways to empower young people to address a range of climate change-related opportunities and challenges.
“I grew up in Nelson and I want to live in a resilient, vibrant community for years to come,” says Arianna Murphy-Steed, one of the youth attendees at the June YCC workshop. “Looking ahead, I am confronted with a great deal of uncertainty but I know my generation has much to contribute toward tackling the complex problems facing our society.”
The Youth Climate Corps is set to make a difference. As the impacts of climate change intensify and the pandemic continues to damage local economies, Wildsight anticipates the YCC will help launch a cohort of freshly inspired young people into successful careers that lead the way to a climate-resilient future. Following the debut of this inaugural West Kootenay crew, Wildsight will work toward enabling similar projects in other locations across the Columbia Basin.
For more information and to apply, visit wildsight.ca/programs/youth-climate-corps/.
Applications are due by September 4th.