From Participant, to Intern and Beyond: Get Outside BC

Written by Angelica Poversky
2013 GOBC Participant, 2014 GOBC Intern, 2014 CPAWS Wild Ambassador


When my English teacher recommended I do an outdoors program during the summer, I expected to maybe  swim in a lake, not have my heart ripped out and restrung in a vicious Wilderness vs. Wifi battle. In June 2013, I escaped into Get Outside BC's magic for 5 days and the experience blossomed from there.

I was so inspired by all the people around me, and the motivation of Kluane, Temily, and Elyse.  Before Get Outside BC, I had organized a few large outdoors trips with friends, but never anything I'd called an "event"- so I was curious as to where this might take me. My passion for nature and preserving it was very real, even though I was merely a 15 year old desperate for guidance. I was scared that at the end of all this training I'd end up confused and unsure of what event I should create.

As the weeks progressed in Phase 2, the workshops provided useful information and as the interns described their stories I began to develop an outline of the event I wanted to create.  I want to have an outdoor poetry slam, combining my love for the spoken word with my love for nature. But I couldn’t help but ask: How would I make my own event? Will people come? WHAT IF I FAIL??

Slowly I realized the spoken word isn’t for every typical human, but there is something in the arts that is for everyone. No being can survive without being exposed to a performing art they enjoy.
An outdoor poetry slam morphed into an outdoor music and poetry concert morphed into an entire festival dedicated to all performing art forms, and then a light-bulb in my brain went off and I decided to call it "Arts in the Park".

There was a nice ring to that title, as I discovered via Google that millions of others have also thought of it already.

Anyways, after coming back from the Get Outside BC summit I realized that no amount of training can prepare you for what it means to actually dive into the event.

To me the mandate to get youth outdoors was not only to inspire a relationship that will blossom into desire to preserve the environment, but also about getting youth off of their cell phones and seeing there is more to life than Instragram and social obsession. Part of the problem I saw in my community were people being closed off in a little rectangle without much opportunity or desire to explore beyond. From my personal experience, artistic release and nature has always been the escape from the constant pressure that teenagers deal with on a daily basis. The combination of both would surely create a personal connection for youth and a desire to attend my event. But as I reflected on my idea, I realized the true intention of Arts in the Park was beyond that.

Many of my friends have never been to a poetry slam, have never been to local shows, and to bring that to an accessible park was a way to generate interest in exploring artistic diversity.

I am deeply passionate about collaborating, connecting, and engaging local youth artists to support for each other and have a chance to showcase to a wide audience. I am equally as passionate about getting youth not normally interested in certain art forms exposed to the world that surrounds them. The constant "I'm bored" I heard always made me upset. If you're bored you are boring, next thing you know you are old and snoring.

After identifying the idea, my purpose, and the need in my local community, I contacted the people who would help me and planned everything, and planned and planned and ahhhh!

Then suddenly it was September 8th, 2013, and my local park was transformed into a canvas for improv teams, rappers, martial artists, musicians, and poets to enchant the audience with their crafts. It was a great day with over 600 attendees. People came out and enjoyed the event, the performers had a great time, and it was sunny despite the aggressive weather the week before.

Everything went smoothly and the high lasted a very long time, enough for me to want to be more proactive in being a pivotal member of the community.

So I created a new series of events, started an outdoors club, joined numerous organizations, and planned concerts, lurking for the release of dopamine that only comes from the impact of positive actions. Eventually, I ended up applying to the Zenith in Action competition to get funding without actually having a strong inclination to host an Arts in the Park 2014.

Winning first place in the competition, I ended up with $250 to fund Arts in the Park.

"So I guess I have to go through with this again," I thought to myself. Slowly and surely another team assembled to put together the best Arts in the Park yet!
But wait - before that I saw that Get Outside BC was looking for interns, so I decided that since I had such a great time last year, I'd love to have more of a leadership role.

I was thrilled that I received the position and had an even better time the second time around, guiding people as a peer-leader. White water rafting, hiking and camping were highlights of my summer, not to mention connecting with other interns and building an inclusive atmosphere to motivate my new friends to pursue their own projects.

I had a lot of time for personal reflection and lots of small aspects surprised me in the integrated role of intern, like how easily I could transition as a leader and a friend.  Instructing people on how to find a need in their community to create these events gave me profound personal insight on my own Arts in the Park festival. I remember pondering about how small hiccups in Get Outside BC I wouldn't have noticed without this new pair of shoes. This made me think critically on how to fix situations and create solutions, but more importantly it let me see a human side to projects, organizations, and events I always just saw as “Godly”, in the same way students blindly regard their teachers as all-knowing.

Afterwards, I realized many things. The first being that I have actual COGNITIVE ABILITY on how to instruct people on  organizing events. This is quite the epiphany, because stemming from this thought I made the realization of how I have grown to become slightly less naive!

All jokes aside, I definitely know a lot more about myself, leading others and the construction of good events. I am far from having unlocked all the secrets, but I am much closer than when I started.
As the planning for Arts in the Park 2014 intensified, I had less stress and more confidence in what I was doing. I was sure of the different steps to take, but it remained a new adventure. And I think with working on any project the second time, especially in a leadership role of a bigger team, and leading people whose shoes you were in a year ago - everything is shifted and people expect you to be a little more responsible and a lot more self-assured.

The September 7th, 2014 Arts in the Park was a success. Over 1000 people came out, lots of media coverage, 30 performers and numerous local art works were displayed. Everything went smoothly and I felt no stress throughout the event. But that's not why I think it was a success; for me the definition of whether or not it was a success was what people left with after their experience at Arts in the Park.

What I want is to create a day that isn't only fun, but brings people closer to the community and to their youth artists. A day to motivate youth to come outside and explore the artistic diversity, not only on the Sunday after Labor Day but also every day in their lives, and many people did tell me they were inspired. That is my success. I see the world as an oyster, but mainly I see an oyster that is trapped inside an iPhone 6 and my victory was knowing that some people could have even the slightest taste of the oyster.

What I want to fight isn’t necessarily the over-exposure of information, surplus of technology and glorification of being busy, but rather the concept of not letting these foreign aspects control our easily bombarded lives.

If I had a moral for my story I would say among this jumble we call life, no one really knows what they're doing. You can plan something infinitely and not know why something goes wrong when it does. You can look deeply into what you want to do and why you think it’s important and study your personal connection and yet still find there is something lacking in your conclusion.

The nature of existence is that not everything can be answered, but we should try to be satisfied in not knowing.

And that's what I like about these things. I'm still starting in my stages but I've had such a journey and figured out so many things, and felt, saw and realized so many ideas that I wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise. I am nowhere near done and don't know where it will take me.


Today, I am volunteering with CPAWS as a Wild Ambassador and am hoping to beat the Wilderness vs. Wifi struggle with a coalition of youth, assembled together on hiking and snowshoeing trips throughout the next 6 months. After that, maybe I'll have an Arts in the Park Part 3, adding more aspects, expanding the team, getting more funds…or I might tackle a new project

Whatever I do, I learned in this ever-growing time of being involved with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society that it is such a surreal ability to make people interested in your cause and improve the community on a universal scale. Pursuing ambition is easier and more interesting the second time, and the first time you do anything you'll look back and see yourself as a little person walking on movable stepping stones, but you still wouldn’t change it.

Goals can be reached and only attained well through precision and devotion and when you make the decision to start doing something you love, one goal will unravel into another and you'll look back and see how continuing confidence will always be the answer.

Figuring out the reason why you love doing this so much is the main drive to push a limitless desire for change.

For more information on Arts in the Park visit: