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West Kootenay Youth Climate Corps returns

A collaboration between two local organizations will return this year to provide young adults in the West Kootenay with employment and education related to climate change.

Kootenay Career Development Society and Wildsight teamed up to train a crew as part of the 2021 West Kootenay Youth Climate Corps program. Through KCDS’s Fast Forward Program, the Wildsight-hosted team was able to receive employment skill training and support, as well as industry-specific training and a subsidy for buying work-appropriate clothing.

Wildsight says the Youth Climate Corps is intended to inspire young people and implement solutions to the climate crisis through employment, training, and leadership development.

Crew members, ages 17-30, earn wages, gain work experience, build networks, and develop themselves personally and professionally. Meanwhile, they complete projects that both benefit their own communities and support global efforts to act on the climate crisis.

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Crew members participated in a three-week, condensed version of the Fast Forward Program. This program includes strength and values assessments, goal setting, career exploration, cultural awareness training, resume writing workshop and guidance, job search skills, cover letter workshops, financial literacy, communication skills and more.

Wildsight and KCDS are joining forces again to help the next crew of Youth Climate Corps, running this spring in the West Kootenay. Anyone interested in learning more is invited to attend a virtual open house on Tuesday, Feb. 22: https://wildsight.ca/events/west-kootenay-youth-climate-corps-open-house/

Co-ordinator Melissa Lavery says there will be two intakes this year. The first closes March 4 for a cohort that begins March 28. The second closes April 4 and starts May 2. Lavery says it would be ideal to have 12 people for each.

She says they are still working on identifying this year’s projects and looking for community partners, but they will continue working at Bannock Point on Slocan Lake on Bannock and Beans, an agroforestry initiative, as well as a project focused on energy efficiency and retrofit construction training.

The project will last at least until Aug. 26, but could be extended to the fall depending on funding.

“We’re excited that we give each cohort the opportunity to have some time to focus on something they’re very passionate about,” Lavery says.
“They’re able to create their own community engagement project. That has [resulted] in a wide variety of things in the past, from an online panel discussion with experts describing individualized climate change impacts within industry to things like bat condos or the Winlaw regional park.”
Lavery says they are hoping to bring some program alumni back this year in leadership roles.
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