Canadian Rockies Youth Network

The Cause

The Canadian Rockies Youth Network (CRYN) is a student-led initiative seeking to empower and amplify a diverse range of youth voices from multiple communities across Southern Alberta. With a primary focus on issues surrounding the Rocky Mountain region, CRYN’s mission is to provide rich education to students and support them in implementing action projects in their community.

CRYN facilitates environmental education through a combination of science and indigenous teachings, providing students with the tools necessary to advocate for pressing issues in their communities. The network helps youth to build connections, hone their skills, receive support and promote their cause, as well as remove logistical barriers by connecting them with experts. It engages youth in park and public land management, addressing both ecological and cultural aspects, leading to more sustainable ecosystems and communities.

This year’s program will be focused on water conservation, identified as a pressing issue by CRYN youth due to recent land management decisions. CRYN focuses on community-based action in addressing environmental issues, as well as supporting mass youth advocacy. The program will offer a variety of events from January to December, including:

1. Virtual and in-person networking opportunities: Participating youth can connect with like-minded individuals, showcase student-led environmental action projects, and plan their stewardship projects.

2. Educational workshops: Sector stakeholders will conduct workshops to provide youth with tools and knowledge to effectively bring about change in their communities.

3. Youth Summit: This event unites youths, providing them with a space to share ideas, receive immediate support from experts and peers, and gain new insights into conservation and environmental action.

This year, CRYN aims to expand the program by offering multifaceted mentorship, connecting CRYN youth with University-aged participants, and establishing mentorships between CRYN youth and Junior High aged participants.

Funds from the Field Law community grant will be used to cover operational costs of the CRYN program, including venue rental, catering, honorariums for speakers or supporting partners, and materials for interactive workshops. This support ensures the active engagement of youth, both in-person and virtually, fostering a sense of community and empowering the next generation of conservation leaders in Southern Alberta.

Who Will it Benefit?

CRYN seeks to bring youth from across Southern Alberta together as a community, dedicated towards advocating for parks and wilderness, bringing about policy change, and improving communities through eco-responsible action. The primary beneficiaries are those directly involved in the CRYN program. In the previous year, 40 youth from diverse communities such as Piikani Nation, Calgary, Canmore and the Bow Valley, and Lacombe, attended the 2023 G.I.V. Summit in Kananaskis Country. During the summit, they collaborated with experts and peers to develop action projects. CRYN summits seek to foster a close knit community of youth advocates across our region to increase youth influence in park management, environmental policy, and community leadership.
Participants described their experience at the summit:
“It was amazing, powerful, inspiring, and I love meeting all the people I met.”
“Overall, I found the Summit to be extremely inspirational and brought about a renewed sense of passion and motivation for climate organizing. I loved that CRYN brought together students from so many different areas. It was so nice to meet other youth passionate about climate justice!”
“It made me feel connected and happy to see people with the same passion as me.”
“I felt so connected and educated. I feel so much hope for the future.”
The communities that CRYN members are part of also benefit significantly. With support from the network, these youth spearhead eco-friendly projects within their area, directly enhancing schools, communities, and natural environments. CRYN's impact extends far beyond individual participants, creating a positive ripple effect by fostering environmental awareness and inspiring upcoming leaders in conservation and climate justice.