What are the benefits of engaging youth?

As members of your community and future leaders in the making, youth have unique perspectives to share.

Listen to what they have to say, ask them what is most important to them, find out what they want to learn, and ask them how they want to be involved. Wherever possible, support youth to get out on the land and waters. And encourage older and younger generations to spend time together and learn from each other.

There are many tangible and intangible benefits that come from involving youth in your guardian program, including:

  • Youth are the next generation of community leaders so it is important that they know and understand the stewardship values and issues of importance to their community.
  • Getting young people out on the land and their territory instills in them a sense of responsibility for their community’s values and culture.
  • Youth feel grounded when they are connected to their community and see that they are part of a larger vision. This strengthens their resilience, builds self-confidence, and helps them develop as leaders.
  • Learning from elders and other knowledge keepers about how to live on the land and water empowers and connects youth, contributing to their overall well-being.
  • There is a transfer and experience of traditional knowledge and values, ways of being on the land, stories, plant medicine knowledge, values, etc. that occurs when youth are on the territory.
  • Taking youth on patrol gives them hands-on, transferable skills in areas such as boat operations, field safety, bush skills, observation skills, and public speaking.
  • Youth or junior guardian programs provide work experience in the territory that is directly applicable to such jobs as tour guide, research technician, guardian, park manager and marine planner.  
  • Spending time with guardians in the field may spark an interest in furthering their education or training in resource stewardship.
Community resource

Why On the Land/Water Programming is Important for Indigenous 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

Community resource

Evaluative Review of NWT On the Land Collaborative Grant Reports

Community resource

The Impact of Land-Based Learning - Summary from Dechinta Łiwe Camp

Community resource

The Benefits of Land-Based Education and Programming

Community resource

Reclaiming Education: Indigenous Control of Indigenous Education The Power of Traditional Education