CPAWS-BC Gone Wild: Our Wild Ambassadors Collaborate at MEC Outdoor Nation


Written by: Dorry Price, CPAWS-BC Wild Ambassador


This past weekend, 12 staff and volunteers from CPAWS-BC joined 140 delegates from across BC and Alberta for MEC Outdoor Nation. The summit was a platform for outdoor enthusiasts aged 18-27 to put their brains together with likeminded individuals and create projects to encourage Canadians to get outside.

Once the initial excitement of breakfast and MEC-sponsored goody bags had settled, the workshops began. First we discussed barriers, and then the benefits and opportunities of encouraging our generation to take advantage of the great outdoors. Delegates then divided into groups based on geographical location and personal interests, and the project development began. The objective: the best three projects, as voted for by fellow delegates, would receive $1500 funding from MEC as part of their ‘1% for the planet’ program. Game on!

The CPAWS delegates decided that we would present the concept of Wild Ambassadors and then show how funding from MEC could lower the costs of our events in the short term, and broaden the reach of the project in the long term. I liked our project pitch because it not only focused on getting people outside in BC parks, but also included elements about how that was important in helping people to feel passionately about protecting these parks for the future. We spent the rest of the weekend refining our ideas and perfecting our pitch which included both a serious budget outline but also a hilarious skit. However, this wouldn’t be an outdoor leadership summit if it was all work and no play. Between sessions, our enthusiastic staff members organised hikes, canoe/paddle boarding and yoga to keep us inspired and motivated. I really felt like all that time spent outside did actually improve my ability to think and plan our project! In the evening, we camped out under the stars (with super gear provided by MEC) after a bonfire, live concert, and for some of us – a bear sighting or two!

Before we left, each project was pitched and delegates voted on the extent to which the objectives of the summit has been realised. Although our project didn’t get the vote, I definitely feel like we benefited a lot from being able to connect with each other in person over the weekend and discuss our Wild Ambassador projects together.
The summit was closed, just as it was opened, with a speech from Josh Joseph, chief of the Squamish Nation. In addition to singing a beautiful safe journey song he also told us of the responsibility of bearing witness to key events. Squamish First Nations sent witnesses to communicate between villages and bring back knowledge about key developments to their people. I think we all felt like we had been witnesses to a special gathering of people and ideas, and all had a renewed motivation, energy, and pride in moving forward to create change – getting more people outside!

To find out about upcoming Outdoor Nation visit: https://outdoornation.mec.ca
And stay tuned for upcoming Wild Ambassador events happening throughout B.C.

Photos: Dorry Price