Ideas for Involving Youth in your Guardian Program
Consider adding youth engagement to the planning phase of your guardian program. Think carefully about how and why you want to engage youth and build a plan to make it happen. Your plan should try to anticipate the time, staff resources, or budget needed to build bridges to the young members of your community.
Some ideas for involving youth in your Indigenous Guardians program include:
- Have guardians participate in career fairs, take-a-child-to-work days, youth gatherings, etc.
- 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.
- Leave brochures or posters about your guardian program in schools and other places that youth gather.
- Have guardians be visible and in uniform at key community events like children’s celebrations, harvest festivals, Indigenous Day, etc.
- As part of your Indigenous Guardian program consider creating a "Junior Guardian" position to provide a youth with work experience or summer student employment.
- Provide formal opportunities for job shadowing or mentorships for young people interested in becoming guardians.
- Participate in fundraising activities for youth initiatives – donate a door prize, make food, provide transportation.
- Provide transportation and logistical support to youth activities such as school field trips, rediscovery camps, culture camps, canoe journeys, etc.
- 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.
- Set up a monitoring program for youth to participate in.
- 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!