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YouthToSea

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

A note to guardians and teachers

As the YouthToSea program is focused on reaching youth under the age of majority (15-18) we often work closely with guardians and teachers to ensure youth are thriving in the program. For general program information please review our “How it works” page and FAQs. Below are Frequently Asked Questions from guardians and teachers, if you would like to discuss an individual student’s situation, please contact us by email at youth@ocean.org

Guardian (Blue) & Teacher (Purple) FAQs

Where are the excursions/workshops and how do students get there?

All excursions and workshops occur in the lower mainland, usually in Vancouver proper. We work to ensure that all programming can be accessed by public transit to reduce transportation stress on parents. On the occasion we venture further out, such as Squamish, we organize bus transportation from an accessible Vancouver location.

How does the application process work?

We have an application process that includes students providing written responses to 4 prompts in an online form. For students who do not wish to write their application we offer the option to create a video or do an in-person interview. Other options are available on a case-by-case basis.

How are students selected for the program?

A panel of 5 Ocean Wise staff select students based on their responses to the application questions. At least 60% of students selected come from underrepresented groups and we also try to ensure we are reaching the broader community by selecting students from a variety of backgrounds and schools.

Do you sign off on volunteer hours?

Yes, staff can provide signatures for volunteer hours as well as official documents outlining hours completed by the student for their use in post-secondary applications, scholarship applications or graduation requirements.

Can my child use this for school credit?

Yes, the program is designed to meet the BC Curriculum’s requirements for the Work Experience (WEX) program and our staff have experience working with Career Teachers to mentor students and complete the necessary evaluations and paperwork. That said, students do not need to be using the program for school credit to be involved.

Can I take part in excursions? How can I get involved with the program?

We do not allow parents or guardians to accompany us on our excursions or workshops. As a leadership program we encourage the students to take agency over their own program, develop the skills necessary to manage themselves and step out of their comfort zones.

What are YouthToSea’s safety protocols and rules?

YouthToSea has a robust policies and procedures manual that outlines safety procedures and policies related to student behaviour. Students that are selected for the program will be sent the safety manual and behaviour expectations when they decide whether to accept their position in the program. Parents can review safety policies then and staff are always happy to share risk management plans for individual excursions.

Who is working with my child?

YouthToSea staff includes a Program Manager, assistant manager and two program specialists. These staff all have at minimum a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and at least 4 years’ experience working with youth.

Is proof of vaccination required?

Yes, under the current vaccination mandate from Ocean Wise and BC Public Health, students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to take part in indoor group activities.

How adaptable and personalized is the program? How will my child be supported in this program?

We aspire to make the program as adaptable and personalized as possible. Each student is assigned a staff member as their personalized mentor. This staff works one on one with the student to ensure they are realizing their full potential in the program, providing support for program goals but also on a personal and academic level as needed.

How will this program help my child with post-secondary applications and future job prospects?

We provide excursions to teach hard-skills and explore future career paths as well as soft-skill workshops that focus on key skills employers are looking for. We also provide university application, resume writing workshops, and reference letters for a variety of applications students complete.

Are there any scholarships available within the program?

Ocean Wise does not offer scholarships, but we work with other community organizations, such as Altruition, to provide scholarship options for students. We also support students by sending out biweekly communication that include upcoming scholarship applications and helping them submit applications.

What training do staff have?

All staff have Wilderness First Aid Training, Mental Health First Aid Training, and Suicide Prevention Training, and Abuse Awareness Training. Some staff have leadership/mentorship training, certifications with a variety of outdoor education organizations and interpretation training.

Are there attendance requirements?

We require students to complete 120 service hours over the 6-month program. Attendance for any individual event is optional as we understand students have other commitments and life has a knack for unpredictability.

How involved will I be if my student is selected?

Since we encourage students to be active on their own and to take agency over their own learning, we try to lessen parent and teacher involvement. We coordinate with teachers to arrange check-ins and evaluations.

Do students have to be doing the WEX program to be involved?

No, students do not need to be enrolled in the WEX program to be part of YouthToSea. We encourage youth to creatively address an ocean issue within their local communities in the form of an ocean service project or by participating in one of the specialized WEX placements.

Who will complete student evaluations?

One of our program specialists that is working closely with the student will complete the student evaluations.

What requirements are there for students to be involved?

The student must be between the ages of 15-18. They are required to apply to the program and must be accepted based on a variety of questions an interest. They will have to complete 120-service hours by the end of the program.

Can YouthToSea programming count as WEX and Capstone projects?

Yes, we have specific WEX placements available. Students wishing to work with us for their capstone project should discuss with their assigned program mentor the best way to integrate their capstone project into the program.

Do you support students for Capstone Projects?

Yes, YouthToSea Programming can count towards both WEX and Capstone projects. YouthToSea offers a variety of options for the students to be a part of for the completion of these projects. Students will receive support and guidance for their Capstone projects by one of our program specialists.

Can YouthToSea service hours count towards volunteer hours for school requirements?

Yes, any number of hours accumulated during YouthToSea excursions and workshops can be used towards any relevant school service hour requirements.

How will you respond if or where a student struggles within the program?

Students are offered one-on-one support with our program specialists. We work closely with the students to check in, encourage, and support each student in whatever they need to make the program successful for them. We understand that students have other obligations and are very adaptable to a variety of schedules and offer solutions to each student lifestyle and learning abilities.

How is learning personalized at YouthToSea?

Working closely with a program specialist, students will have the opportunity to design an ocean service project, reflect on their WEX performance and choose how they want to implement their learning. This program specialist works one-on-one with the student to provide support for program goals but also on a personal and academic level as needed. Coaching and guidance will be offered to all members of YouthToSea.

How can I get your support?

Contact at us by email at youth@ocean.org if you would like support for a specific program or student. We will do our best to support teachers in whatever capacity we can.

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