Empowering Youth

Like many rural and remote areas, the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region has limited resources and opportunities for youth. The CBT supports healthy youth development by empowering youth to gain the necessary skills and capacity to positively impact their lives, the lives of others, and to contribute to community change and sustainability.

Education is recognized as a social determinant of health and is a key component of youth empowerment. The CBT has provided annual education awards to graduating high school students to attend post-secondary school since 2002. The CBT also supports experiential learning for youth by providing field trip funding to each school in the biosphere region and by sponsoring local youth to participate in the Students on Ice Foundation’s annual Arctic expeditions.

The CBT supports youth leadership and decision-making by inviting youth to participate on the CBT Board of Directors and advisory granting committees.  Further, the CBT provides youth-led grants for community projects spearheaded by local youth. 

Students on Ice

Update: in response to COVID-19, the Students on Ice Foundation has cancelled the 2020 Arctic Expedition. 

Each year, the CBT supports a local student to participate in the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition. Joining other high school and university students along with inspiring scientists, elders, artists, musicians, dignitaries, historians, thought leaders and innovators, our local participant learns about the importance of the Polar Regions, climate change, and sustainable development. Check out the story of our most recent participant here. The participant returns home with knowledge, perspective, and experience that supports their growth as a well-rounded community leader.

Education Awards

The CBT funds two Education Awards annually to graduating high school students OR to individuals who have graduated from high school within the last 12 months. Students must be planning to begin their post-secondary education in September or January following their acceptance of the award. 

Applications are evaluated based on:

  • Community Involvement (e.g. participation in local cultural initiatives, volunteer projects, sports, arts groups)
  • Personal Reference Letters (supporting your application for the Education Award)
  • Proposed Education Plan (outlining what you plan to study, where, how, and why)
  • Academic Achievement

Learn More

Youth Vital Conversations

Young people growing up in the small, rural towns on our coast have amazing access to nature and close-knit communities, but they can face a unique set of challenges. Youth here face a lack of programming, a lack of transportation, and prohibitive costs as barriers for engaging in recreation and personal development, particularly across cultures. Through our Vital Signs initiative, we host "Vital Conversations" with local youth. where they share about the reality of growing up on the coast, informed by their own lived experiences and supported by the youth data on pages 15-16 of our newest Vital Signs Report.

See photos of the most recent Youth Vital Conversation and read the summary and analysis of the discussion. The report was created by a team of participants in CBT's Leadership Vancouver Island program who researched the development of a regional youth leadership program.

Field Trip Funding

We believe that youth are the future of Clayoquot Sound and the biosphere. The children that grow up here often choose to live and work here as adults. They will become the leaders and decision-makers determining the path of environmental stewardship, sustainable development, quality of life and culture. One of the best ways to learn about the CSBR is by experiencing it first-hand. CBT has been offering field trip funding to all schools within the region since 2009. This maximum $1,000 grant is provided to each school for educational outdoor field trips within the biosphere region. Our goal is to benefit as many students as possible and to see the funding shared amongst grades.