Youth Summit 2020
OSFN facilitated the involvement of six local high school students (and sponsored four of them) in Ontario Nature’s Virtual Youth Summit, over four Saturday afternoons from mid-August to mid-September, presented online this year due to COVID-19. One student, Jackoby Graham, has forwarded to OSFN a comprehensive and glowing report on his experience with the Youth Summit activities with the following excerpt from that report.
“Participating in this year’s youth summit was very impactful to me this year. The youth summit was like the highlight of a COVID year. During the four-week youth summit, I have learned a great amount about nature, native people, native land, native culture, and history.
Every week in the youth summit we had workshops and live streams. I participated in the workshops with the topic of Environmental Policy, Turning Powerlessness into Action, Navigating eco-anxiety and activism, Biodiversity, and Nature Walk.
Lastly, I found the live stream with the keynote speaker, Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm, one of my favourite live streams in the youth summit. Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm is an activist on a national and international scale. He raises awareness towards so many topics like protecting nature, indigenous rights, history, policies, land, and water awareness and so much more.
The final fourth week is when everyone votes on three events and campaigns of their choice. After the week of voting, there was a final live stream where they announced the winners and our group WON! My group got the most votes, and we won one-year memberships at Ontario Nature and support from the Ontario Nature Youth Council or Youth Circle from Mother Earth to make our events happen.
Overall, the 2020 Ontario Youth Summit was memorable, and so much fun. I learned lots about nature and indigenous community problems. I learned leadership skills from working with others on the Leadership Challenge. I am so excited to make my event happen (hopefully if COVID-19 does not get worse). Thank you so much for sponsoring and for allowing me to participate in the 2020 Ontario Youth Summit. I hope to see you at my Run 4 Water event next year. I hope you and your close ones stay safe. Again, I appreciate that you sponsored me for this summit!”