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Project Details

Project dates
01/09/2023  – 10/01/2024
Caledon, ON, Canada

Lauren Castelino

Project Lead

An environmental leadership retreat bringing together marginalized environmental leaders across what is currently Ontario filled with bonding, laughing, learning and introspection.

Project Description

I hosted an enriching outdoors retreat for 20 underrepresented youth, centered around climate justice. With the support of the Ocean Wise Eco-Action Accelerator grant, I was able to various aspects of the event, including accommodations at an overnight cabin, transportation, meals, and resources required for planned activities. The retreat encompassed a range of engaging outdoor experiences, such as nature walks, hiking, snow sports, contrast therapy (cold plunge and sauna) and clean-ups. Additionally, it incorporated social events to foster connections among participants, including an art activity lead by an Indigenous artist, community cooking sessions, anti-oppression training, an environmental campaigning workshop and a bonfire.

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was not having enough support leading the retreat since many people cancelled at the last minute and those who were supposed to help out got sick. It was nice to see that those participants saw how I was struggling stepped up to help me when they saw I needed more help.

What was your most valuable takeaway?

I learned a lot about myself including how I need to be more assertive and firm with what the plan is, so that others don’t take over and we lose track of the schedule and have mistakes happen. For example, there were instances were others would think that they were leading and as such tell me what to do even though I was the primary organizer and the one that had the plan. Whether that was cutting out meal options (which would jeopardize those who have dietary restrictions), changing the schedule (so as a result we’d be late/delayed with our agenda of the day), or people overruling my decision (having everyone clean their plate themselves instead of sticking to the original division of labour which subsequently caused most women to be in the kitchen cleaning and the men not doing as much to help).

Regenesis Canada

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