Connection and support are at the forefront of what Power To Be is all about. With disruptions to our typical programs due to COVID-19, the Power To Be team has been working diligently to maintain connections with our participants to ensure that our community feels supported during this challenging time. As a part of our #ItMatters campaign, we have been creating and sharing activities, videos, and resources to continuing engaging with our participants. However, we also felt it was important that conversation and consistent touchpoints occur as well.

To action this, Power To Be has started to hold virtual programs with some of our participants. We started this with our Wilderness School cohorts, and on top of many phone calls have already hosted 10 programs over 5 weeks equating to over 600 minutes of connection. To date, we have held a total of 23 virtual programs across a variety of Power To Be groups. These virtual programs consist of story sharing of favorite trip memories, what we’re doing now to stay connected to nature, nature-based activities and challenges, and just generally a free-flowing dialogue of check-ins on how we’re doing. This is generally the only platform the Wilderness School youth are using to stay in touch with each other consistently right now, so it provides a great place for genuine connection.

We have also been using our virtual meetings to help foster a connection with the nature we can access in our everyday lives, and how healing that can be. Backyard/neighbourhood plant and animal scavenger hunts; sharing stories of our adventures, both together and apart; intertidal animal and tree I.D. activities; and taking part in group challenges that ask us to exercise our bodies and minds and consider the importance of movement in nature.

With so many disruptions to daily life, we believe it’s important for us to hold a space for our participants that is a doorway to something they love and miss, and it’s something that has brought them a lot of growth and community during their time with the program. A person who, maybe one or two years ago, had never slept a single night outdoors let alone spent several days hiking and camping in the rain, now have the depth of experience and resiliency that comes with those experiences to face things in their lives with a sense of confidence. With us, they can reconnect with some amazing memories and build some hope that we will be able to continue to have these adventures together again, the sooner the better!

This blog was written by Power To Be’s newest Program Facilitator, Mike Milner. Mike has a Level 2 Lead Guide certification with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC; as well as certifications in wilderness first aid, marine radio operation, and Adventure Tourism.