Resources in chapter Involve Youth


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.

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

Section: What are the benefits of engaging youth?

“Guardians bring people back to the land. The land is sacred -- it is their power. Bring youth and elders together, where duty and responsibility can be passed on.” 

Josh Barichello, Ross River Land Stewardship

“Guardians bring people back to the land. The land is sacred -- it is their power..."

Community resource

Taking Care of What You Know: An Evaluation of the SEAS Community Initiative

Section: What are some ways to engage youth?


Ideas for Involving Youth in your Guardian Program

  1. Have guardians participate in career fairs, take-a-child-to-work days, youth gatherings, etc.
  2. Give presentations at schools on your work as a guardian. Prepare a slide show on ‘A Day in the Life of a Guardian’, share stories, bring in community experts and elders.
  3. Leave brochures or posters about your guardian program in schools and other places that youth gather.
  4. Have guardians be visible and in uniform at key community events like children’s celebrations, harvest festivals, Indigenous Day, etc.
  5. As part of your Indigenous Guardian program consider creating a "Junior Guardian" position to provide a youth with work experience or summer student employment.
  6. Provide formal opportunities for job shadowing or mentorships for young people interested in becoming guardians.
  7. Participate in fundraising activities for youth initiatives – donate a door prize, make food, provide transportation.
  8. Provide transportation and logistical support to youth activities such as school field trips, rediscovery camps, culture camps, canoe journeys, etc.
  9. Get youth involved in physical work that guardians are doing such as cleaning up significant cultural sites or campsites, building cabins, cutting hiking trails, etc.
  10. Set up a monitoring program for youth to participate in.
  11. Use tools such as social media, photography, video, GoPros, voice recording, drawing, crafting, writing, music, etc. to capture and share youth observations and experiences. See the story 'Grassy Narrows Youth - A Powerful Voice for the Land' for an inspiring youth video!

Ideas for Involving Youth in your Guardian Program

“In Lutsel Ke, every boat has a couple of kids in it and their role is to do nothing more than absorb and learn. Although it is informal, it's still called ‘nahatni dene’ or learn while doing. Folks with the program for 4-5 years have “graduated” but sometimes don’t have navigation skills or confidence so they go out to learn with more experienced senior land users.”

Steve Ellis, Tides Canada

“Every boat has a couple of kids in it and their role is to do nothing more than absorb and learn. Although it is informal we still..."

Section: What are some examples of youth engagement programs?