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Youth to Sea

A hands-on learning program that endeavours to unite youth to make a difference towards ocean conservation.

Service Projects and Work Experience that help inspire the next generation of ocean leaders

During their ten-month program with Youth to Sea, participants will gain invaluable experience through 3 key aspects of the program: (1) Immersive Learning Journeys (2) Skill Building Workshops, and (3) Ocean Service Projects.

A group of participants smile and cheer on a whale watching boat

Learning Journeys

Through experiential learning, Learning Journeys provide an opportunity in which youth can gain valuable knowledge and experience in science-based career paths. All Learning Journeys include a reflection component in which youth can express their thoughts and what they learned about during their experiences. All learning journeys are connected to Ocean Wise’s conservation strategy pillars: Climate Change, Unsustainable Resource Use and Pollution. Examples of past Learning Journeys include: 

  • Kayak & Water Sampling: Learn the skills of kayaking and understand how to take water samples and analyze them for common water quality indicators 
  • Whale Watching & Oceanography: Learn how to identify whale species and map them, use plankton tows and understand the food web, and get out onto the water to try and spot some marine animals 
  • Invasive Plant Pull: In collaboration with various community ecological societies, come learn about the effects of invasive species and their effects on the ecosystem. 
  • Indigenous Learning Experience: Learn firsthand about the importance of indigenous culture and the interconnections of environmental justice. 

Skill Building Workshops

Youth to Sea hold monthly Workshops focusing on an array of topics. All workshops are designed for participants to build and develop soft skills that can be used in all aspects of life. They also bring a sense of community as well as build on confidence. Again, experiential learning is key, and we provide hands on activities and games to promote learning. The workshop topics in the past include:

  • Action Planning
  • Communication
  • Public Speaking
  • Problem Solving & Conflict Resolution
  • University Applications
  • Resume Building
  • How to Write to a Politician
Two participants are at the shoreline collecting data.

Ocean Service Projects

As part of this program, we encourage our participants to create their own Ocean Service Project to address a conservation issue they see in their own community. The Ocean Service Project can be whatever the student is interested in and Ocean Wise will provide resources to help with these projects. These include one on one mentorship and access to grant funding as well as connections to community partners to collaborate with. Ocean Service Projects are an opportunity for participants to exude their creativity and to demonstrate their passion towards conservation. Examples of service projects include: youth led shoreline cleanups, waste-free workshops, film screenings, facilitating school clubs, replenishing and re-cultivating school gardens and campaigning to make their schools single-use plastic free.

Youth to Sea has already absolutely exceeded my expectations, and this latest excursion sealed how lucky I am to have joined this group. Overall, this program is tailored to fit the kind of student who wants to explore with others [...] I genuinely can't thank everyone enough, from the leaders to the other attendees; from the bottom of my heart, thank you!


Youth to Sea Ambassador, 2021

Two students hold leaves they have picked from the garden.

Program Requirements for Ambassadors

Youth to Sea 2023 will run from April 2023 – February 2024. During this 10-month program youth will complete 120 volunteer hours through monthly excursions, skill building workshops and the creation of a community service project. Open to 15-18 year olds.  

Generally, each month there will be the opportunity for one full day excursion, one part-day workshop and one monthly group call online. The program also includes a 3-day, 2-night immersive learning journey at camp within their region to begin their time at Youth to Sea. This excursion is a chance for participants to get to know each other and the program. Attendance at Youth to Sea Monthly Group Excursions is strongly encouraged to be able to meaningfully and successfully engage in the leadership program. Share your placement experience via whichever medium you prefer (ie. writing, photography, vlogging, podcasting, graphic design, etc.) Contribute meaningfully to your individual or collaborative action project to be presented at our end of year showcase. 

Who can participate?

  • Must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada.
  • Excursions and workshops take place in the city’s main city centre, participants will be responsible to get to and from events.
  • Must be 15-18 years of age

*Applications will open March 27th 2023 and Close April 11th 2023. A link to the application form will be available on this page starting on March 27th 2023.

Youth to Sea has definitely been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Our service project, Schooling Fish, has evolved me in making it easier for me to step outside my comfort zone. I also connected with many amazing people and made experiences that’ll last a lifetime

Ronald, 16

Youth to Sea Ambassador, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

During the program students are expected to complete 120 hours of volunteer service (this includes Youth to Sea multiday orientation, workshops, excursions, Ocean Service Projects and the service showcase). Because this is a funded program, students must commit to completing 120 hours of service before March 2024.

The majority of Youth to Sea excursions and workshops will take place in the city centre of each region. Youth from communities outside the city centre are welcome to apply but you will be expected to have your own transportation to and from events.

Participants will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of opportunities. In the past Youth to Sea has done events such as kayaking, sailing, snowshoeing, hiking, invasive species removal, planting, boating, and marine surveys. Specific excursions are not guaranteed and subject to change. Skill building workshops include leadership skills, communication, action planning, mental health strategies and problem solving.

The Ocean Wise Leadership Program can be used to fulfill the B.C. Curriculum Work Experience program. You can use the hours and experience gained at Ocean Wise to fulfill all the Work Experience requirements and our team will fill out all the employer sheets for you.

There will be 60 participants the Vancouver region and 20 participants each in Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal, and Victoria.

This is a fully funded volunteer program and there is no cost to the participant. For all training the program covers offsite travel, food, accommodation, and certification expenses.

This program is about giving youth professional work experience and development opportunities, so we do not have any pre-requisites to be part of the program. We hope students come with a desire to learn more about marine biology, education, leadership, as well as a passion for learning new skills.

As part of this program, we encourage students to create their own Ocean Service Project to address a conservation issue they see in their own community. In the past students have run shoreline cleanups, led waste-free workshops, held film screenings, and campaigned to make their schools single-use plastic free to name a few. The Ocean Service Project can be whatever the student is interested in. Click the button below for examples from the 2020/2021 cohort.

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Still have questions?

Contact us at [email protected] or call us at 604-659-3886 for more information.

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