The 5th Generation of Get Outside BC leaders have embarked on their journey to get you outside!


July 12-17th marked the 5th Get Outside BC (GOBC). Twenty-eight young leaders from across the province, including Prince Rupert, Kelowna, Kimberley, Fernie, Campbell River, and Greater Vancouver, came together for a week of leadership training, community building, and fun! They planned outdoor projects, met local Green Mentors, swam in lakes, camped out, and had “raw s’mores” (no campfires this year). They were joined by 3 Get Outside BC interns: Ruhee, Quentin, and Heather, who had all participated in GOBC in the past and returned to mentor this generation of GOBC’ers. We asked them to share with us their experience at GOBC this year.


Heather

“Get Outside BC is all about developing the skills we need to lead people outside, both out the door and through whatever experience in nature is on hand. With all the time spent indoors at school, doing homework, or on electronic devices, this is a crucial time to encourage youth to get outside. In the last year only 9% of school-aged Canadians got the full hour of "heart-pumping activity they need each day,” which is typically, and most easily, achieved through outdoor activities (ParticipACTION 2015). I returned to GOBC this year as an intern because of the sense of community I felt as a participant in 2012. A community full of other youth who cared about the same things as me, full of adults who were fun, brimming with laughter and wisdom, sharing what they knew, and full of respect for who I was and wanted to be, even though I wasn’t a leader yet. It also planted the seed in me of how to be a leader. Since my first summit I have been developing those skills, until this year I finally felt that my seed was now a sapling, grown enough for me to return and give back to that incredible community that welcomed me three years ago, and be a part of something that powerful once more. I am so glad I did return, because after the six days of this year’s GOBC summit, I learned so much more through leading and working with this year’s participants, and I realized this is what I want to do with my life. Not only did GOBC give me the tools to help others enjoy nature, it brought my dream to life. GOBC can fuel your dreams too, if you let it. Take initiative and go outside today. There’s a whole world out there."

Quentin

"Get Outside BC is for the passionate, the adventurous, and the driven. The beauty of the program is that you don’t need to be any of those three things to enjoy the summit and the following phases. We, the facilitation team, realize that the youth who join GOBC are at different stages – phases, if you will – of their development as natural leaders. Some of them might already be involved in their communities, and so to them, GOBC would be a place for them to spread their wings and develop the more nuanced aspects of natural leadership. However, for other youth that are completely new to leadership, the summit is where they acquire the first of their wings, sparking their interest in outdoor leadership. In general, someone should register for GOBC if they have one important quality – a willingness to learn. Some of the youth I talked to didn’t even like the outdoors before coming to the summit, but then fell in love with it because they were able to soak up the message and the passion for the outdoors that everyone else had. Basically, if you’re even considering wanting to sign up, just sign up – it might end up being the best thing you almost missed out on.

One of the most important skills that I learnt as an intern was patience, especially since it wasn’t the skill that I thought I would develop as part of the facilitation team. I thought to myself: “With 30 awesome youth that all want to have fun and be a part of the summit, being a leader shouldn’t be a problem.” As I quickly learnt, it requires a lot of patience to try and direct that many people through an activity, from place to place, and often, simply to keep them all quiet – and that’s not even accounting for other problems, like having a super quiet speaker for a salsa dancing workshop. Dealing with that many people and having to improvise the day’s activities requires far more patience than I had ever imagined.”

Ruhee

"Get Outside BC is a life changing summit! It is an amazing opportunity that provides youth with knowledge, friendships, and adventures. You get a chance to connect with youth from all over BC with the same interests as you, learn so many new things, and have so much fun! My favourite memory from the summit was getting the chance to try so many new things such as participating in a polar bear swim, white water river rafting, and sleeping under the stars. Get Outside BC is something I will cherish forever and recommend to every youth in BC."

The journey didn’t end for the young leaders at the Get Outside BC summit  when they boarded the bus to head home. They have been busy planning projects and events to get their peers and community outside! Check out our events page to find out if an event it happening near you!

Get Outside BC is a collaborative youth leadership project that aims to strengthen youth attachment to British Columbia’s wilderness by empowering young leaders across the province. The project is a collaborative effort between CPAWS-BC, BC Parks, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Child and Nature Alliance of Canada.

Thank you to the following supporters; Parks Canada, Hamber Foundation, Nesters Market Grocery and Air Canada.  Thank you to the Cheakamus Center for hosting us and providing delicious food all week. Thank you to Wonderland Valley Camp Resort for providing a beautiful place to camp.  Thank you to all those who joined us at the summit and made this experience such a special one for 28 youth from across BC!