Oceanwise Youth To Sea Leadership Program

YouthToSea is a program for youth aged 15-18 in the lower mainland that aims to empower them to make a difference towards ocean conservation. It brings together 80 youth to provide them with opportunities to develop their ocean conservation knowledge and personal skills. It is a hands-on service-learning program that has three main components, (1) immersive learning journeys that help the youth explore their connections to nature and science-based career paths (2) skill building workshops that work with the youth to improve on their soft skills, and (3) ocean service projects which give the youth an opportunity to create their own service project in their community.

At YouthToSea, we endeavour to unite youth with one common goal: to protect and conserve our oceans. Our mission is to coach youth and provide them with opportunities to develop their problem-solving, critical-thinking, and communication skills. At the end of our program, youth are equipped with skills, tools, and strategies to be active decision-makers in their local, regional, and national communities.

(1) Immersive Learning Journeys

Learning Journeys are opportunities to take part in outdoor excursions or workshops that help youth explore their connections to nature as well as introduce a variety of science-based career paths. All learning journeys are connected to Ocean Wise’s conservation strategy pillars: Climate Change, Unsustainable Resource Use and Pollution. Past examples of Learning Journeys include:

  • Kayak & Water Sampling: Kayak deep cove and learn how to take water samples and analyze them for common water quality indicators
  • Takaya Salmon Tour: Boat up Indian arm to a salmon spawning deep pool to swim with migrating salmon. Learn about traditional Tsleil-Waututh uses of the land and more about the sustainability of Salmon as a resource.
  • Providence Sailboat: Spend the day sailing in Howe Sound on the Providence, learning about the ecology in the area and oceanography as a career path.
  • Snowshoeing the Watershed: An exploration of Seymour via snowshoe, learning about our local watersheds and how they contribute to the health of the coastal ecosystem and oceans as a whole
  • Salmon Skin Leather Making: Learn how to turn raw salmon skins into usable leather and explore the role of traditional knowledge and Coast Salish traditions in this 2 day workshop
  • Shoreline Cleanups: Join the group to complete shoreline cleanups, direct action that leads to a healthy ocean environment.

(2) Skill Building Workshops

These workshops bring the group together to work on improving your soft skills and confidence. They are all based in experiential learning, which means there will be no lecturing, only hands on activities and games to promote learning. Workshop topics may include:

  • – Action Planning
  • – Communication
  • – Public Speaking
  • – Problem Solving
  • – Leadership
  • – Mental Health Strategies

(3) Ocean Service Project

As part of this program, we encourage students to create their own ocean service project to address a conservation issue they see in their own community. In the past students have run shoreline cleanups, led waste-free workshops, held film screenings, and campaigned to make their schools single-use plastic free to name a few. The ocean service project can be whatever the student is interested in. Examples from the 2020/2021 cohort can be found at www.youthtoseablog/com/y2sshowcase

Ocean Wise will provide resources to help with these projects including one on one mentorship and access to grant funding.

Time Commitment:

This program asks participants to commit to completing 120 hours of service before March 2022. The program is designed for participants to earn service monthly Learning Journey’s across Metro Vancouver. Youth can expect to contribute 10-12 hours a month to the program.

The program will begin June 1st 2021 and conclude March 31st 2022. Generally, each month there will be the opportunity for one full day excursion, one part-day workshop and one monthly group call online. The program also includes a 3 day, 2 night immersive learning journey during Spring Break 2022 (location TBD).


  • Must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada
  • Must be 15-18 years of age (Born between June 1st 2002 – June 1st 2007)

Cost of Participation:

This is a fully funded program and there is no cost to the participant. This includes costs for offsite travel, food, accommodation, and certification expenses.

YouthToSea Group Calls:

Attendance at YouthToSea Monthly Group Calls is strongly encouraged to be able to meaningfully and successfully engage in the leadership program.

Youth should expect to gain experience with these soft skills:

  • Leadership; decision-making, mentoring, and conflict management
  • Communication; listening, negotiation, and public speaking
  • Critical Thinking; problem-solving, adaptability, and innovative-solutions
  • Teamwork; cultural- and self-awareness, empathy, and inclusion

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