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  • Collage: A young woman shows a young child a craft on a lawn, a camp counsellor and group of teens in masks made out of nature materials stand in front of a group of seated children, a camp counsellor works with a child using a net to explore a pond

Leading Youth in Nature Experiences (LYNX)

Teen Leaders Program

 

Are you aged 14 to 17 and interested in working with kids in the outdoors? The exciting new LYNX Teen Leaders program from the Humber Arboretum offers you the tools and skills to help you create exceptional experiences for the children who will be exploring nature under your guidance. 

Beside a river, a man shows a chlid a crayfish in a net

 

Leading Youth in Nature Experiences (LYNX)

Whether you are already volunteering with kids in your community, hoping to get your first job at a summer camp, or are planning a career in education, the LYNX series from the Humber Arboretum is here to help you become the best nature mentor you can be.

The levelled LYNX learning series expands on and replaces the Humber Arboretum's previous Leader-in-Training (LIT) program for teens interested in working at the Humber Arboretum's Summer Nature Camp. LYNX Teen Leaders is open to all; you do not need to have been a Nature Camper or be intending to work at our Nature Camp in the future to take part in LYNX.

LYNX Level One, Virtual

This stand-alone, 20-hour program combines virtual group sessions with self-directed activities for a week-long introduction to leading youth in nature. Participants who successfully complete LYNX Level One, Virtual (which includes full attendance, engaging in discussions, and completing all self-directed activities) will be issued a certificate from the Humber Arboretum recognizing their accomplishment.

Who

LYNX Teen Leaders is open to participants aged 14 to 17.

No prior experience is required for LYNX Level One; this session is both an excellent introduction for those who are hoping to work with children in the future, and an in-depth look at designing and facilitating nature experiences for teens who are already working in leadership positions with kids.

Because it is entirely virtual, participants are welcome from anywhere in the world. Some specific examples and activities will focus on the ecosystems of Ontario, however the skills and concepts will be useful anywhere.

What

Under the guidance of the Humber Arboretum’s experienced Nature Interpretation team, LYNX participants will learn about topics such as:

  • An introduction to the two-eyed seeing approach to nature connection
  • Designing activities that help develop "ecosystems thinking"
  • The importance of activity sequencing, and why and how to debrief after an activity
  • The difference between “busy” and “engaged”
  • Hazards vs Healthy Risk
  • How to be a nature mentor
  • Asking and encouraging great questions
  • Adaptability, problem solving, and self-care in the outdoors
  • Communication skills: Explaining activities, communicating across cultures, and talking to parents
  • Citizen science and ecological stewardship
  • and more!

When

LYNX Level One takes place over five days. There are two upcoming sessions of LYNX Level One – Teen Leaders to choose from:

P.D. Day Cohort*

  • Friday November 19, 2021
  • Monday December 20, 2021
  • Tuesday December 21, 2021
  • Wednesday February 2, 2022
  • Friday February 18, 2022

*Please note this session will only run if a minimum number of registrations is reached. Participants will be notified by November 1 if the session is going ahead.

 

March Break Cohort

  • Monday March 14 to Friday Friday March 18, 2022

 

Daily Schedule (Either session)

9:00 am to 12:00 pm: Online group learning session  

12:00 pm to 2:00 pm: Lunch break and time for assigned self-directed activity

2:00 pm to 3:00 pm: Return to the virtual platform to discuss the self-directed activity

 

Where

LYNX Level One is entirely virtual and will be held via Zoom. Participants may join from anywhere with an internet connection. (Times are Eastern Daylight/Standard Time - Toronto)

 

How

The 20-hour virtual LYNX Level One program costs $250 plus HST per family device. Siblings within the age group are welcome to share a screen under one registration. Families with three or more siblings participating may use up to two devices under one registration.

 

Early Bird Discount: Register for either session on or before October 1, 2021 to receive 10% off

 

Register now for LYNX Level One 

  

Questions? Email arboretum@humber.ca

LYNX Level Two & Placement

Outside in the garden of the Humber Arboretum, a teen gives instructions to a group of young campers in matching backpacks

Only teens who have successfully completed LYNX Level One will be able to apply to participate in LYNX Level Two. Level Two takes place at the Humber Arboretum in Toronto and will give you the opportunity to put some of what you have learned during Level One into practice as you also develop more hands-on skills during in-person training. This will be followed by a two-week placement working alongside counsellors at the Humber Arboretum’s Nature Camps for ages 5-12.

As on-site programs are still on hold at the Humber Arboretum, the first LYNX Level Two session and placements are expected to coincide with Summer Nature Camp 2022.

Coming Soon: LYNX for Adult Leaders

A man pours maple sap from a collection bucket into a cooler while two children watch

A little too old for the Teen Leaders program? Humber Arboretum staff are currently developing a version of LYNX designed for adult learners. It will be ideal for teachers, ECEs, and informal educators, and even for parents who want to enhance time spent outside as a family.

 

Check back soon for more details.