The Value of Strategic Mentorship in Park and Recreation Agencies

External Resource

The purpose of this study was to identify the benefits of a systematic mentorship programme using a recreational agency as the case study. Demographic information was used to understand the current state of recreation agencies and this resulted in utilising a systematic mentoring process to address a lack diversity and inclusion in their membership agencies and communities, with the intended purpose of improving the effectiveness of park and recreation agencies. An example of a systematic mentorship programme is a 3-person cohort programme that facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experience between each member of the cohort. The benefit of this mentorship approach is to engage in discussions to strategically address and provide recommendations related to diversity and inclusion.

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Nature Playbook

Guidebook/Tool

The Nature Playbook

The Nature Playbook is a strategy to connect young people with Nature in Canada. It is meant to guide and inspire actions that all Canadians can take to connect a new generation with Nature.

Pick up the Playbook. Plan your Plays. Make a difference.

Sortons jouer dans la nature

La stratégie Sortons jouer dans la nature vise à rapprocher les jeunes Canadiens de la nature. Elle a pour but de guider les Canadiens et de les inspirer à agir pour mettre la nouvelle génération en contact avec la nature.

Obtenez le livre de jeu. Planifiez vos jeux. Contribuez à des changements positifs.

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Youth as Indicator Species

The social fabric of Canada is changing: urban migration, a rapidly aging population, more people with disabilities, increased immigration and ethnic diversity, and a growing awareness of aboriginal issues and values are just some of the emerging threads in our cultural cloth. This new weave is an exciting opportunity to enrich the tapestry of federal, territorial, and provincial parks with bold and diverse new perspectives and approaches to conservation and stewardship, recreation and connection, diversity and inclusion. 

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In imagining an inclusive parks system 30 years from now, members of the Canadian Parks Council Youth Engagement Working Group (YEWG) pictured those people engaged in parks reflecting the diversity of Canadian society. We envisioned a culture of engagement able to adapt and evolve to the changing ways that people interact with the natural world. We predicted an increased role for parks in establishing lifelong relationships with the natural world and a social value shift towards environmental literacy. This bright future for parks begins with youth today. 

There is much to gain and nothing to lose by equipping Canadian youth to discover (or re-discover) our parks. Dissociation from the outdoors or just simple barriers prohibit many youth from learning about natural or cultural values, but their participation will help create new understandings and reveal new stories. Older employees are aging and retiring, but today’s youth will be called to continue the legacy and manage our treasured natural areas with passion and integrity. Canadians are seeking more balanced, healthy, and active lifestyles, and youth are leading many outdoor recreation and adventure experiences that foster physical and mental health. Finally, many Canadians are overwhelmed with environmental threats, but youth are ready to become active stewards in protecting nature and the landscapes that are so important for sustaining life. 

More fundamentally, youth are an indicator species. They reflect the state of the relationship between park agencies and the communities that make up Canadian society. Canadian youth move quickly through stages and transitions as they become more independent, and they cross all backgrounds, cultures, abilities, economics, belief systems, ethnicities, and interests. 

The work of the Canadian Parks Council working group, the research team, and the youth advisory panel is about empowering and involving youth as collaborators, and about listening to their voices as we create a more relevant and sustainable park system across Canada. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this report, especially the youth who shared their voices 

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Connecting Canadians to Nature

Our national, provincial and territorial parks play an important role in connecting Canadians to nature, pro- viding unparalleled natural classrooms and playgrounds for Canadians of all ages. As hosts to natural areas of exceptional beauty, and with a mandate and expertise to reach the public and set them on a path to discover and experience nature, Canadian park agencies are passionately committed to connecting all Canadians with nature. We see this as a fundamental priority and critical investment in both this generation and generations to come. Connecting Canadians with nature is an essential investment in Canada’s long-term prosperity.

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No one sector or level of government alone can ensure that Canadians benefit from contact with nature. We need collaboration across a wide range of interests — from educators to health care professionals to urban planners and beyond – to forge new bonds between Canadians and nature. Only in working together can we nurture healthy lifestyles, support strong, vibrant communities, and provide our children with the best future we possibly can.

Federal, provincial and territorial park agencies in Canada, working through the Canadian Parks Council, have prepared “Connecting Canadians with Nature — An Investment in the Well-Being of our Citizens”, a report synthesizing the growing evidence related to the benefits of connecting Canadians with nature. 

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