Community Connections | Citizen Engagement
Environment | Sustainability
Living Standards | Education And Learning

Global Youth Education Network Society (genius)

We build leadership capacity in the social change sector.

Our Story

Why We Exist

Next Up is a leadership program for young people committed to environmental and social justice. We are a project of genius and operate in a 7 month long leadershp program in 8 cities across the country to train and grow emerging progressive leadership. We were created with the belief that a better world is not just possible, but is imperative, and that we must support young leaders if we are to find solutions to our collective challenges. We believe in this mission now, more than ever. In Alberta we also offer The Climate Leadership Program (CLP) a 5-weekend retreat-based course for Alberta residents committed to bringing climate action to their organizations and communities.

The Climate Leadership Program was created to address a percieved gap in climate leadership, by building a deeper and broader platform of support within Alberta for climate change action and policy, so that Alberta can become an international leader in climate action. Work is to build a stronger and more diverse network of climate leadership in the Calgary and connect it to provincial climate action efforts.

The CLP’s programming targets people who are not necessarily current climate leaders, or even focused on climate change in their present work. Through developing climate literacy and leadership skills amongst these participants, Next Up will build a more diverse climate leadership network that will bring conversations and action on climate change into their Calgary communities and organizations.

Visible climate leadership from outside the environmental sector (i.e. the usual suspects), is needed to shift the perception that climate change is solely an environmental issue and highlight the ways relevant action can be taken across the province, and by multiple actors. Current approaches to climate solutions are not benefiting from the knowledge and experience held by people who are outside of the traditional sphere of environment, climate policy and action. By increasing the number and diversity of climate focused activists and organizations in Calgary, Next Up will extend the impact of our province wide network’s existing 250 grads and 60 engaged presenters and collaborators into new sectors, and contribute to the important work of breaking down those sectors’ unique challenges.

Our Impact

What We Do

Today, we face a combination of interconnected global challenges – ecological, economic and social – not seen by previous generations. This moment in time needs bold, smart and determined leadership. We are meeting these challenges through our growing network of social change leaders. Nationally we now have a total of 534 participants and graduates. Calgary has 124 grads and participants, while Edmonton has 110, this includes 26 grads from our inagural Climate Leadership Program.

Our alumni are making waves across sectors and issues – from labour, politics, and academia, to arts, service, and grassroots activism. Check out our 2016 Alumni Report for information on our grads and what they value about Next Up.

We are also building connections and capacity within our networks of supporters, partners and collaborators. In our 8 years in Edmonton and 7 years in Calgary, we’ve had the support of over 100 volunteers each year. We have active relationships with over 100 leaders in nonprofits, labour, indigenous communities, business, health care, education, academia and grassroots organizations. In Calgary we have hosted the Community Connection for 5 years. This is a single day gathering of around 70 people that focuses on community building, project innovation and social networking. A number of notable projects, businesses and collaborations saw their beginings here, including Green Event Services and Calgary Meal Share, while other growing projects and organizations (The Women’s Centre, Grain Exchange Coop, Alberta Network of Immigrant Serving Agencies) widened their impact and effectiveness through their participation.

Our Network:

The particpants from the Climate Leadership Program come from a wide cross section of Alberta’s people, places, organizations and communities.

In Alberta, we partner with Parkland Institute. Parkland Institute is an Alberta-wide, non-partisan research centre situated within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. Parkland Institute studies economic, social, cultural and political issues facing Albertans and Canadians, using the perspective of political economy.

In Calgary we also partner with the Arusha Centre and the Alberta EcoTrust Foundation. The Arusha Centre inspires and supports communities to connect, gather, and create a socially, economically, and environmentally just future. The Alberta EcoTrust Foundation supports environmental groups in Alberta through grants and capacity / collaboration building programs.

Our Programs

How We Do It

There are many takes on the concept of “leadership”. For us, leadership doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a big talker, or that you’re the popular person, or the funniest person, or the person who speaks in public a lot. You may have those qualities, or you may not. It does mean that you think about the world around you and you take action to make it a better place.

Our goal is to equip participants with the skills and tools needed to become an effective leader.

In the Climate leadership Program skills, lenses and theories learned are focused specifically around the challenges and opportunities of climate change. Combined with peer mentoring and the development of innovative climate action projects, grads of the CLP are positioned to influence and transform how climate action is taken in their communities and areas of work.

Meet our CLP programming staff.


Our Requests

What You Can Do

We are seeking ongoing financial and community support. Donate today.

Specifically, we are continually seeking to engage participants from equity seeking groups and those who do not typically have a place in the groups and systems working to address climate change. In particular we are seeking people who have established support and connections within their workplaces, communities, professions, nations or grassroots organizations and wish to bring a climate lens to them. People of colour, indigenous, trades, parents, and cooperative members are but a few examples of people whose participation is vital to the CLP’s work. We are continually working to keep our climate action topics and knowlege base current, and actively modify our programming accordingly. We are particulary interested experts from areas that include commnications, innovation and policy who can aid us in developing and expanding spaces for difficult and inclusive conversations and problem solving.

In 2017 we wish to bring land based learning, reconcilliation, cooperatives and community based solutions to our programming, and are hopeful to meet people willing to share their knowledge from these areas.

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Kevin Millsip

Global Youth Education Network Society (genius)

(phone # not available)

Charitable Number: 860578772RR0001

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