For the past year and a half, all meetings and retreats hosted by the Canadian Rockies Youth Summit have been online due to COVID-19. As soon as they were able to, the Network held a retreat in person. The Environmental Youth (EY) Take Action Retreat took place on October 9th, 2021 and around 30 people attended. The main goal of the event was to bring youth together who share similar passions. At the retreat, we explored varying topics of sustainability and finding your place in the environment.
The day started with a hike led by CPAWS. Topics such as water management and balance between industry innovation and environmental prosperity were analyzed using hands-on activities. One of the activities was a game where you had to hold up a stick and move around the circle and hold up the stick next to you like a post. However, each participant had to take a step back every time they shifted positions. It became difficult to keep the sticks in a standing position. It was further discussed that the sticks represent the ecosystem, and each time a challenge is posed, like increased forestry or increased hunting, it becomes difficult for the environment to stabilize. The hike with CPAWS was an incredible insight towards ecosystem management while getting active in nature.
For any event, the food served sets the tone for the get-together. In the case of the EY Take Action Retreat, all food was sourced from sustainable farms and practices. Not only does the choice of food benefit the environment, but it also sets an example for youth to follow when considering their own meal plans.
After lunch, the afternoon consisted of workshops led by youth and stewards of the environment. The workshops were led by young people involved in the Canadian Rockies Youth Network. Youth can inspire change in the actions they take, and what they participate in. The day concluded with another sustainable meal from Avatars Pizza and a fireside chat. Around the fire, music was played, stories and plans for action projects were shared.