Chapter 14

Involve Youth

Guardian programs can play a meaningful role in helping youth to:

  • Gain practical experience on the lands and waters
  • Build skills
  • Connect with their culture and community

Through these hands-on experiences, youth often feel an increased sense of belonging, ability, pride, and cultural connection. For this reason, Indigenous Guardian programs in communities across Canada are focusing efforts on engaging children and youth in guardian programs and other on-the-land activities.

Explore this section to learn:

  1. The benefits of engaging youth.
  2. Ways to engage youth.
  3. Some examples of youth engagement programs.  
  4. Tools to help build and grow youth engagement programs.
  5. Potential funding sources for youth engagement programs. 

You can access a comprehensive overview of the information and resources offered in this chapter here


Tips for Youth Engagement

  1. Start by thinking about why and how you want to engage youth in your guardian program. Do you have (or need) a clear mandate to do this? What can you realistically commit to?
  2. Talk to youth! Go where youth gather in your community and engage them in conversations about what they think and want and how they might connect with the work you are doing.
  3. When meeting with youth, make it as fun and engaging as possible. Be creative to encourage participation. Share stories and videos, bring food, plan activities, etc.
  4. Build relationships with those already connected to youth in your community such as teachers, youth workers, language program coordinators, coaches, camp leaders, etc. Work with them to develop activities and share information about opportunities for youth.
  5. Involve your guardians in existing youth programs or gatherings. Offer to have guardians provide logistical support to youth gatherings or come and talk to youth about guardian work.
  6. Invite youth to go out on patrol with guardians and get them directly involved in field-based activities. Be sure to address any consent, insurance, or safety requirements.
  7. Create opportunities for youth to gain work experience through mentorships, job shadowing, summer employment, or internship positions within your guardian program.
  8. Find specific ways to encourage girls to participate in guardian activities. Make sure young women are front and centre as role models and mentors.
  9. Help connect youth to seasonal activities happening on the land such as fish camps, seasonal food harvesting and processing, or medicine harvesting.
  10. Schedule activities when youth are available and not in school – evenings, weekends, and summer.

Tips for Youth Engagement


Overview Worksheet - Involve Youth

This worksheet provides a series of questions to help think about how to engage and involve youth in your Indigenous Guardian program. Download it now


Overview Worksheet - Involve Youth

Additional resources

Community resource

Chapter 14: Involve Youth - Summary of Resources