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The Parks Canada Youth Ambassador Program

Youth Ambassadors

2015-2016

Photo of Minh-Tâm Thompson Minh-Tâm Thompson
© Parks Canada

Minh-Tâm Thompson, Kitchener (ON), 21, from McGill University

My name is Minh-Tâm, or Minh for short! I was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario but have been living in Montreal for the past three years. While in Montreal I’ve managed to smile through the cold and embrace the heat, plus study some cool things in Anthropology and Environmental Studies at McGill University. I still burn my marshmallows on the campfire and have yet to pitch a tent stress-free, but what I lack in experience, I make up for in clichés.

Growing up as the middle child, I’ve always had that itch to get out and explore. Luckily my parents made outdoor adventures a priority, and some of my best memories are from times spent visiting Canada’s amazing parks and sites. This summer as a Youth Ambassador I’ve scored the ultimate exploring privileges, and I can’t wait to take this journey with other young Canadians! It’s impossible to describe how excited and inspired I am by the greatness of Canada; there’s no doubt we’re about to make some amazing memories.

Photo of Justin Fisch Justin Fisch
© Parks Canada

Justin Fisch, Waverley (NS), 25, from McGill University

It would be hard to forget my first trip to a national park: eight years old, visiting the West for the first time, alone on a trip with Mom for the week (a tough feat with three younger brothers in the house). We stayed in Lake Louise, exploring the beauty of Banff National Park. On our second day in the park, Mom decided we make our way up Mt Fairview, a “leisurely” 10-km hike upwards over a 450-metre elevation. Sounded great! Unfortunately, I bit off a bit more than I could chew. A measly 500 metres from the summit, I abandoned the trip, asserting I would not walk one more foot up the rotten trail. That fit lasted but five minutes, as Mom baited me with a KitKat bar, promising the chocolaty reward if I reached the peak. I don’t think I’ve run faster since.

Since that day, I have had the privilege of visiting parks in dozens of countries, making the greatest of connections along the way. This year, I look forward to getting to know young Canadians from throughout the country, and helping to shape our collective narrative of conservation in this country. With one of the most dynamic and diverse systems of parks in the world, Canada’s national park system is under visited, undervalued, and most of all, underexplored. Join me as we shape the story of our parks for the millennial generation.



2014-2015

Photo of Lindsay Little Lindsay Little
© Parks Canada

Lindsay Little from Stirling (ON), 24, from McGill University

I am eagerly awaiting all of the adventures that we will have this summer in Canada's National Parks and Historic Sites! I am passionate about the power of my generation, and believe that the sites of Parks Canada provide new and exciting opportunities to get to know our beautiful country. I want to show that visiting national parks and historic sites is the best way to complement the urban lifestyle lived by most twenty-somethings, and to disprove stereotypes about who can be a "Parks" person! I will strive to meet as many other young people as I can, and to help them plan their own local and national adventures.

I was raised on a farm outside Stirling, Ontario and am now studying Law at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. I have completed an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Although I grew up camping in parks across the country, I have spent the vast majority of my time over the past five years longingly looking out the windows of school libraries. I am very excited for the opportunity to get out of the day-to-day routine and experience nature and history alongside other millennials! Whether it is by biking, jogging, picnicking or other, I can't wait for the chance to explore Parks Canada places.

Photo of George Woodhouse George Woodhouse
© Parks Canada

George Woodhouse from Owen Sound (ON), 24, from Dalhousie University

My name is George and I'm proud to hail from Owen Sound, Ontario - not to be confused with Bobby Orr's hometown of Parry Sound, Ontario. In 2009, my whole family piled into our car and drove me across five provinces to Halifax, Nova Scotia where I began studying French and Sociology at Dalhousie University.

Five years later, I can say for certain that I've fallen in love with the east coast where I've made golden friends from around the world. When I wasn't studying I was usually busy working on different musical projects with other students. Thus my passion became writing songs and filming videos. In 2010, I became acquainted with Parks Canada after winning a national video contest for a music video I made with a friend. It was an enviro-rap video called "Tales from da Trailz" about Newfoundland's Gros Morne National park. I had never actually been to Newfoundland, so we filmed most of the video Point Pleasant city park.

Nonetheless, my love for this country grew and the following summer, I worked as a student for Parks Canada and composed "The Parka Song" for the agency's official beaver mascot. This summer as the Youth Ambassadors, Lindsay and I are ready to do whatever it takes to expose the cool factor of Parks Canada to young Canadians. Our methods may be unconventional but our mission is simple. Spread the Parks Canada love.


2013-2014

Photo of Colin Sutherland Colin Sutherland
© Parks Canada

Colin Sutherland from Ottawa (ON), 24, from University of British Columbia

There is nothing like travelling to the country's best National Parks and Historic Sites after finishing your undergrad. I can confidently say that this past summer I had the best summer job in Canada.

Having the chance to meet people from across the country and explore Canada's rich natural and cultural heritage is the opportunity of a lifetime. I had the opportunity to take on responsibilities and learn skills not necessarily related to my major in Geography. I've had a chance to see the variety of work that goes on in Parks Canada from meeting underwater archeologists, exploring with Bear guardians, to speaking with our media relations department.

This summer has given me the chance to really dive into what it means to share our National Parks and Historic Sites and how important it is to share these places with my generation.


Photo of Julia Belliveau Julia Belliveau
© Parks Canada

Julia Belliveau, from Sussex (NB), 19, from Carleton University

It has been an incredible adventure travelling to places in Canada I never even dreamed of visiting! Besides having the best summer ever, I gained invaluable experience as a Parks Canada Youth Ambassador for my prospective career in international business. I have improved my communication abilities from doing interviews with the media and delivering presentations to various audiences. I have expanded skills necessary for taking initiative, networking, collaborating and developing new ideas. I tried new activities like snorkeling with seals and hiking in the Rockies. Most importantly, I met truly unforgettable people and forged friendships to last a lifetime. I knew I possessed a passion for travelling, but I didn't realize the significance of travelling in Canada. As Canadians, we have an amazing country and I encourage everyone to explore it.


2012-2013

Photo of Alaïs Nevert Alaïs Nevert
© Parks Canada

Alaïs Nevert from Montreal (QC), 21, from Capilano University

Few 21 year old students can claim that their "everyday work" can include giving a presentation to the CEO of their company one day and camping in the Pacific Coastal rain forest the next.

As a student in film studies and hoping to work in the nature documentary industry it's easy to imagine how a job that involves travelling to Parks Canada places could be beneficial; the Parks Canada Youth Ambassador position gave me more than that. Networking, organizing, researching; the many facets of the job helped me develop new skills that I now apply on a daily basis.

The experience I gained through this position will help me move forward with my career. I know that the places I visited and the landscapes that I witnessed are now memories that I will carry forever.


Photo of Michael Ciniello Michael Ciniello
© Parks Canada

Michael Ciniello from Mississauga (ON), 23, from Western University

The experiences and knowledge I have gained through my term as a Parks Canada Youth Ambassador have been invaluable. Not only did I have the chance to see some of the most amazing places across Canada and work with a group of passionate young leaders who really care about their job, but I also had the opportunity to develop a diverse variety of professional skills. From working with the media, coordinating our own PR campaigns, creating the ideas and foundations for new projects, as well as giving presentations to senior management, the Ambassador program has allowed me to develop abilities that will give me a leg up in any job that I chose to tackle next.