Each October, all youth between the ages of 15 and 20 living in Nunavut and the NWT are invited to apply to NYA’s Canadian Program. Successful applicants are tasked to recruit the help of a Mentor in their community and begin work on a series of assignments designed to help them prepare for volunteer summer work placements in southern Canada.
Participants travel to Ottawa in late June for a program orientation. Here, they learn about group dynamics, self-reliance, leadership techniques, increasing confidence, health and safety in the work place, and on-the-job skills. Following orientation, Participants travel in pairs to live with host families across the country and begin a six-week volunteer work placement. Pairing the youth builds a support system for each Participant – a crucial element of the program’s success – and promotes lasting friendships and networks between youth in the North. While on placement, Participants gain hands on work place experience in a chosen field and engage in cultural sharing in their host community. Confidence is built by experiencing life away from home, but still being connected to a strong support network.
Before returning to their home communities in late August, Participants gather once again in Ottawa for a re-orientation session. “Re-O” provides Participants with the opportunity to reflect on, celebrate, and document the positive changes they experienced over the course of the program and offers techniques for Participants to maintain the momentum gained throughout the summer and utilize it to benefit their home communities. Participants are also responsible for preparing a presentation on their NYA experience that they can share with their communities, families, and friends.
Returning Participants have a clearer sense of their identity and of their own interests, skills, and career objectives. They also earn up to nine high-school credits for their efforts.
The Canadian Program focuses on:
- Cross Cultural Learning and Awareness
- Earning High School Credits
- Career Exploration
- Job Training
- Community Development
- Minimum 150 hours of Hands On Professional Work Experience
- 9 High School Credits
- WHMIS, First Aid, and Swim 2 Survive Training
- Sessions on Career Planning and Goal Setting
- Public Speaking Training
- A Unique Opportunity to Experience a New Culture
- The Ability to Share Their Culture and Traditions