Youth Summit Testimonials
How a Local Scholarship Allowed Me to Become Involved With a Province Wide Youth Council
Last fall I had the chance to attend the Ontario Nature Youth Summit when I applied for a
scholarship offered by the Vankleek Hill and District Nature Society. The scholarship I was
awarded included transportation to the Summit and room and board. The Ontario Nature
Youth Summit is a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while learning about the
environment, nature, and yourself.
The Summit was held at Lake Couchiching in September, and thankfully we had gorgeous
weather! There were many workshops to choose from, including bee box building, freshwater
life and insights into leadership. We also had keynote speakers including Kale Black and a
presentation on the protection of reptiles and amphibians. On top of all this there were many
morning activities like polar bear dips, birding/hiking and canoeing. One of the best parts of
the Summit was by far the great group challenge, where we separated into color groups and
had all sorts of fun doing outdoor activities! The Youth Summit was an overall amazing
experience as it allowed me to meet other youth who were interested in the environment and
During the Summit I had the chance to get to know council members and to learn about their
different campaigns and goals. I was encouraged to become involved with the Ontario Nature
The Youth Council brings together youth from across Ontario to share knowledge and help us
to develop the confidence needed to be able to create an impact and make change. Attending
the Youth Summit is what allowed me to join the Ontario Nature Youth Council, since had I
not attended I would have never gotten involved.
I am extremely grateful to the Vankleek Hill and District Nature Society
for allowing me this experience and hope other youth in the
community will have the chance to become involved.
I'm writing to thank you for opening a new pathway for my daughter Emma.
It all started back this Spring when you mentioned at a book club meeting that the Nature Society would be sending 2 candidates to the Ontario Nature Youth Summit. I took note of the information and passed it along to my daughter, Emma. She looked up the Nature Society's ad in the Review and applied. She was awarded one of your scholarships and attended the Youth Summit this past summer.
The Youth Summit was an awesome experience for her. To encounter and engage with teens from all over Ontario who were as passionate about the environment as she, was an eye opening experience. At the Youth Summit, she caught the eye of one of the coordinators, who suggested that Emma would be a great candidate to sit on the Ontario Nature Youth Council. She said she would think about it.
I think she made her decision in October after she gave her presentation on the Youth Summit to the Vankleek Hill and District Nature Society and realized that more young people need to be involved in protecting the environment.
So in November she applied for a seat on the Ontario Nature Youth Council 2017/2018 and was chosen! Now she helps organize & coordinate getting other youths involved in environmental issues. She helps give other young people a chance to have their voices heard. At their December meeting they discussed their 3 initiatives (Helping Pollinators, Project 2 Degrees & Protecting Wetlands) and started planning the Winter Youth Summit.
And this whole adventure started with a little reminder from you at a book club meeting on a Monday night. As a parent, nothing makes me happier than seeing my child thrive - so thank you for helping my daughter find this path that allows her to thrive 💖.
Jane Fantie McGurk