What We Do

What We Do

NYA’s programming serves to enhance youth participation and success in education, career development, personal goal setting, and community leadership. NYA assists in enabling northern youth to become full participants in the ongoing development of Canada’s North. The NYA program operates three core programs – the NYA Canadian Program, NYA Next and the NYA International Program. Each program operates over a ten-month period and is highlighted by a five to six-week summer travel placement in southern Canada or Internationally.


  • Participants complete a rigorous set of assignments designed to build their cross-cultural awareness, leadership skills, and self-confidence. The bulk of assignments are completed in the winter and spring from their home communities in order to prepare the youth for their summer placements. Participants also complete assignments throughout the summer and upon their return home as well to help them achieve the best experience possible and maintain their momentum and progress after the travel component of the program. The assignments are designed in such a way so as to help the participants achieve success, reach their highest potential and ultimately lead fulfilled and prosperous lives.
  • Mentors are paired with each Participant in their home community to assist them with their preparations and assignments. Beyond assistance with program requirements, Mentors serve as role models for Participants, offering support, encouragement, advice and keeping them focused on their goals. Mentors are a crucial element to NYA’s success as they are leading community members who have existing personal relationships with participants.
  • Travel is a major component of NYA. Participants travel to a host community within Canada or internationally in order to become more independent and gain practical skills by leaving their comfort zone and facing new challenges head-on. Participants achieve remarkable personal growth through living away from home and experiencing what life has to offer in their host communities. Participants gain an expanded world view, a plethora of new experiences and ultimately return home with more confidence, independence, leadership skills, occupational knowledge and ambition. They are presented with new perspectives and made aware of the opportunities that are available for them.
  • Each Participant will volunteer and learn about the impact of giving back to a community. Participants spend roughly 175 hours developing occupational interests while on a five-week volunteer work placement. The skills, confidence, and leadership developed while on placement help direct the aspirations, abilities, careers and futures of Participants and are ultimately transferred back into the workforce in the north. Every attempt is made to ensure that work placements occur in a field that matches or complements Participants’ identified career interests.
  • Participants are able to earn 9 high school credits for each program (18 credits total), which brings many participants closer to graduation. NYA’s emphasis on education can reinvigorate in Participants a desire to thrive academically. This new passion for education can motivate youth who previously had little ambition or desire to complete their high school education to do so, and potentially even attend a post-secondary learning institution.

Support Beyond NYA

In recent years, NYA has drastically increased support for Alumni who have completed one or more phases of NYA programming. Maintaining relationships with Alumni and keeping them engaged with NYA and the goals they set for themselves through the program is a top priority for NYA. There are a number of services and opportunities NYA offers to Alumni that promote this priority.