YELP: Leaders of Today

At the end of this year’s Youth Environmental Leadership Program, we say goodbye to six of our youth, now graduating and moving on to further education and travel.

Reflecting back on the year, Elodie Button, our youth engagement manager had this to say:

“To witness the growth and transformation in these youth is inspiring and motivating. YELP participants believe in a fossil-fuel free future. I have heard them make compelling arguments to members of the public regarding the need for a shift towards renewables during a bake sale they held to raise funds for the Pull Together campaign.

YELP will be seeking new members in September 2015, if you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a part of the team, please visit our page.

“These young leaders are living by example- following graduation from high school two of them have embarked on a cycle-touring journey down the coast of California working on organic farms along the way. Another participant recently departed for a remote Aboriginal community in Australia where she is hoping to learn about local culture and continue her personal education regarding the connections between social and environmental issues around the world.”

In May, the YELP team hosted a hugely successful musical evening in Victoria raising over $1500 for First Nations in court against Enbridge. YELP participants described this as a great opportunity to build solidarity with First Nations communities on the front lines of the fight against pipelines in British Columbia.

This year YELP was recognized for their incredible community efforts at the United Way of Greater Victoria Youth Now Awards. Recognized by a council of their peers, YELP was awarded the Group Volunteer Award celebrating their passion for connecting social issues to environmental issues.

“My favorite part of YELP was we had our weekly meetings outdoors and the hikes and campouts over the years. The community and energy that was brought to each meeting was incredibly powerful and healing through my years of high school. I learned a lot and made a lot of great connections.” – YELP participant

At the end of the year, many participants expressed how YELP was the best part of their year and helped them get through high school. The sense of belonging, comradery and support that was created in the group allowed people to show up authentically and vulnerably. What would it be like if our communities learned about environmental leadership from these young people?

Our Youth Environmental Leadership Program (YELP) offers youth in the Victoria area the opportunity to develop leadership skills, build relationships and have fun through environmental action, restoration, hiking and camping. Find out more about YELP.

If you are interested in becoming a supporter of YELP, please contact Elodie Button at elodie@sierraclub.bc.ca.