By Kevin Parker, Young Canada Works Manager, National Trust for Canada
For over 15 years, the National Trust for Canada, in partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage, has administered financial contributions under the Young Canada Works program.
This past year, we funded 16 internships and over 100 summer student positions. This program is designed to fund built heritage-focused organizations to hire students and recent graduates.
As the National Trust’s program manager for YCW, I work with organizations on a daily basis and help them through the application period, hiring process, and reporting requirements. Part of my duties involve travelling to various work sites across Canada to monitor the progress of the project. Each year, we choose a different region of the country for on-site monitoring and this past year I travelled to Nova Scotia to see first-hand how the YCW program is helping young Canadians and organizations.
My first stop was in Halifax to visit Andrew Murphy, president of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia. For the past two years he has hired summer students through the YCW program. This past summer Andrew hired Minette Murphy, a University of Dalhousie student studying architecture and design. She spent her summer drafting designs of heritage buildings and properties in Halifax that are in danger of being demolished. She presented her work to property owners and suggested changes they could make that could improve their buildings and the community. This work directly related to Minette’s studies and provided her with practical experience she can use in the future.
My next stop was the historic Annapolis Valley, where I met with Wayne Smith of the Annapolis Heritage Society and two summer students, Alisha Longmire and Philip DeNuke. Both worked as community animators and dressed in costume typical of the late 19th century and gave guided tours of the O’Dell House Museum and the town itself. When they weren’t giving tours, Alisha and Philip spent their time learning the area’s history, helping local residents research their genealogy, and working with artifacts. The YCW program allowed the Annapolis Heritage Society to hire Alisha and Philip to help during their busy summer season, while helping them further their interest and knowledge of Nova Scotia heritage.
One of the last stops on my trip was to Yarmouth on the southern tip of Nova Soctia. I visited Cape Forchu Lighthouse and the Friends of Yarmouth Light Society. Not only was Cape Forchu a YCW participant this past year but they were also winners in the National Trust’s 2015 crowdfunding competition, This Lighthouse Matters. Through strong community support and an engaging online campaign, Cape Forchu Lighthouse came in 3rd place and won $25,000 to help them reinvigorate their lighthouse. This summer, they hired Sydney Newell as an interpreter. Sydney gave guided tours of the lighthouse and created a database of visitors in order to better market and advertise the historic site.
I spent the rest of my trip visiting different organizations in Nova Scotia and in each case, I saw the same thing: young Canadians gaining experience and learning about local architectural and cultural history. It was amazing to see first-hand the YCW program in action. The funding the program provides to organizations is essential in growing the heritage community throughout Canada and offers valuable experience for students and recent graduates.
The application period is open for the 2019-2020 program year and there are more funds available than ever before. January 15 is the deadline for Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations (Summer Jobs) and March 1 is the deadline for Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage (Internships). More information on the program, eligibility, and deadlines can be found here.