A project designed around an issue that many young people have at heart: the environment!
An accessible training program offered through a partnership between CJ and WWF Canada
With the goal of providing volunteers with a way to implement their dream environmental protection projects, Chantiers jeunesse and WWF Canada developed a new training program for young people who want to take real steps to protect biodiversity through a project that will have a social impact. This initiative was inspired by CJ’s Entrepreneurship Projects.
Objectives of the Eco-Leadership Journey
- Support young people in developing a project on biodiversity or other environmental issues;
- Develop their skills in project management and sharing information with the general public;
- Reinforce leadership skills in young people;
- Increase feelings of inclusion and civic engagement in communities.
WWF Canada’s youth programs served as a basis for addressing topics such as riverbank cleanups, protection of urban biodiversity and building awareness.
– Biodiversity: Habitat creation or restoration (species inventory in the neighbourhood, invasive species limitation, urban agriculture and native plant cultivation);
– Cleanup: Cleaning campaigns in neighbourhoods (individual or group efforts);
– Education: Conveying new knowledge (educational trail for species identification or bringing awareness to the environment).
While the new context of the pandemic and social distancing requirements were challenging, we successfully adapted to ensure project viability through:
– Online, rather than in-person, training sessions;
– Content adaptation;
– Modifications to volunteer projects to reach larger audiences online rather than in-person gatherings;
– Keeping online check-ins brief to avoid Zoom fatigue
– Transformation of some projects into awareness-building projects.
Our collaboration with WWF Canada led to some innovations in Chantiers jeunesse’s Social Entrepreneurship Projects. We’ve added group support sessions for each cohort to our pre-existing individual volunteer support.
Because of their similar interests and topics, the group sessions helped nurture a sense of belonging and sharing between peers in the group.
The positive effects on both team and volunteer support between young people with similar projects and interests were enough to convince Chantiers jeunesse to adopt the practice of small group support going forward.