Adventures in Nest-Building (YSI's 2015 Learning Document)

We are excited to release Adventures in Nest Building (Or, How to support place-based youth-organizing), YSI's 2015 Learning Document. The words below are from the introduction...

Since 2013, we’ve been building a community in Ontario’s Algoma region we call the Nest. It’s a vibrant mix of younger and older changemakers and organizational leaders, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who live in rural and urban locations,  who are increasing their capacity to address the complex challenges that they care about in their communities.

And we see change is happening. Young people are starting new initiatives and they are influencing how organizations engage youth. They are collaborating to tackle tough issues like racism and youth employment and, in doing so, building relationships across cultures and communities. They are building their skills in addition to a network of support they can draw on when they need help, whether personally or professionally.

These efforts are part of a new direction for the YSI Collaborative. We have been transitioning from a loose volunteer-run network to a small organization that drives and enables capacity-building around placed-based organizing and young people’s leadership.

Now, after much action and deep reflection, we are sharing our successes and hard-earned lessons. This document is the culmination of two years of Developmental Evaluation work, and asking ourselves and YSI participants what is changing in their lives, organizations and communities, and the role that YSI is playing.This document serves two purposes. First, it is intended to introduce you to YSI’s work and our impact over the past two years building the Algoma Nest. It is also an attempt to name the deeper principles and practices that have informed our approach over the years, which we hope can serve as a launching point for future place-based work.

You’ll find stories of changed lives, organizations, and communities that we are supporting and the challenges they continue to face.  And because the work is not done, we have some recommendations about actions and investments our sector can make in people and infrastructure to support youth organizers.

We still have a long way to go and there are some big barriers: limited financial means; short project timelines for longtime challenges; entrenched systems and ways of supporting young people.  

But after two years, and some new ways of doing this work, we think we're onto something.

We invite you to read about YSI’s Nest-building and the impact it is having on young people and their communities.

Enjoy. We hope you challenge us with your feedback, learn with us, and collaborate with us to ensure young people are reaching their potential.

Download Adventures in Nest-Building