WILD Outside participant writes of how she has grown with the program.

I feel that WILD Outside is a program that has the ability to help people cope and guide them through adolescence.

WILD Outside not only encourages you to build new connections with like-minded people, but also supports the foundation of creating and sharing ideas. Being able to join this welcoming group of people allowed me to express my thoughts about climate change, global issues, social and environmental events, and also meet new people to share those ideas with.

From more of a personal standpoint, I’ve always been more of a shy and introverted person. For as long as I can remember, I’ve kept to myself, refraining from big groups and big extra-curricular clubs. WILD Outside helped me step outside of my comfort zone and work past that. This program has helped me to voice my opinions and ideas on what matters and is important to me and take leadership. These are things I’ve always wanted to do but never could. It helped me grow as a person as I took my newfound ‘outgoingness’ and passion into school, sports, and volunteer work.

WILD Outside put me in a position to share my goals and plans. It helped me discover a little bit of who I am and who I want to be. It also helped me realize what I value, and what I really care about changing or helping out with. It helped me loosen up, get outside and, most importantly, have a good time.

I am very grateful for the opportunities WILD Outside opened me up to. From paddle boarding to brainstorming conservation projects, I got to do things I enjoyed. It also gave me the opportunity to learn from webinars, join and engage in online meetings with the UNEA, and enroll in The Duke of Edinburgh Award Program. These opportunities were great because despite the stressful COVID-19 situation, it let me continue volunteering and helping out.

I was worried that with the whole COVID-19 situation I wouldn’t be able to continue my service projects and outdoor adventures, but with the Duke of Edinburgh program I was happy to continue learning, growing, and contributing from home. It’s a very exciting program that I’m passionate about and gets me motivated for the future!

I was surprised how much I changed through the programs. Of course, I had the intention of meeting some new people and doing some conservation work, but I had no idea how much it would help me grow as an individual. It helped me step outside my comfort zone and branch out.

Taking Action at Home

From this personal growth, it’s inspired me to take on leadership in my community. I started going out more for things like guiding Grade 8 orientations at high school or creating a petition to save the old growth trees in my city. These are things I’ve always wanted to get involved with. I just needed a helping hand and little push.

It’s gotten me excited for the future, rather than nervous. It helped me release my ambition and encouraged me to go above and beyond my goals; tackling all obstacles in my way. I’m excited for the near (and far) future and continuing with WILD Outside will always keep me inspired!

Learn more about the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Education & Leadership programs.