Learning employment skills on trails

The Skills Link Program in Hope has recently added a new trails component

The Skills Link Program in Hope has recently added a new trails component.

The Service Canada initiative, which is locally administered by Free Rein Associates, provides funding for employers and organizations to offer eligible activities to youth facing barriers to employment. Funding decisions are based on regional and local priorities as well as community needs.

“It’s teaching employment skills,” said program leader Scott Penner. “We go through the classroom component and then we do some work placements throughout the town. We have a number of businesses that are helping us out taking on some of the kids for mentorship. There’s been really good success rates, with about 80 per cent of past kids maintaining long-term work.”

With Hope moving towards a greater focus on eco-tourism, Penner said it seemed a logical fit to partner with Hope Mountain Centre on trail maintenance and improvement.

“We’re working with the kids on the trails learning practical workplace skills: safety, communication, initiative, planning and organizing, and technology,” he said. “It’s a very cool partnership because the town gets to benefit from better trails, more kids are working, and it helps eco-tourism for the community.”

A group of 12 youth have already completed a week of work on the Hope Lookout Trail, with another week planned later this month. They helped with building staircases, directional signage improvements, and rock work. Kelly Pearce, Hope Mountain Centre program director, said it’s been a huge resource since it typically takes a lot of time to get a group of volunteers together.

“It’s wonderful to have a consistent group that’s really focusing day in and day out on that trail,” he added. “The trail really deserves it. It gets a lot of traffic and it’s an important part of Hope’s image to have a few of these standout trails that are well-maintained.”

The group started each work day by packing tons of treated wood and cedar planks recycled from old BC Parks picnic tables up the trail. In addition, they carried their own lunch along with various tools including shovels, picks and saws.

“It’s all been really hard physical hands-on work improving the trail tread,” said Pearce. “Particularly intensive is using the wood to pre-build these big wood boxes which we fill with soil to build steep staircases. Being a rainforest environment, we just want to make the trail safer for the public.”

Just Posted

Volunteers risk their lives to save others

SAR training prepares them for the job

Many moving parts to economic development

Tourism is only part of the answer

Window art a sign of the season

B.C. artist paints windows across the province

Get all your stocking stuffers, and the stockings, too

Beta Sigma Phi Christmas Craft Sale returns

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

This year’s event featured six stops, including viewing points and activity centres.

Methadone treatment not as effective for mentally ill, homeless: study

SFU study suggests unstable housing makes it hard to stick to treatment regimen

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Port Mann, Golden Ears traffic up since tolls removed: report

City staff report says congestion woes easing on Pattullo Bridge as a result

Convicted child sex offender’s sixth lawyer resigns before sentencing

One time school board candidate Corey Neyrinck case delayed in BC Supreme Court yet again

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

TransLink mulls distance-based fares, low-income discounts

Metro Vancouver transit agency launches final phase of fare review

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Most Read