© Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
Parks Canada youth ambassadors George Woodhouse and Lindsay Little spent time in Cavendish on the weekend with a large group of youngsters involved in the agency's Explore P.E.I. program.
Travelling across the country to take in the many pristine national parks and historic sites is a dream many Canadians save for retirement.
However, for Lindsay Little and George Woodhouse, it’s one of the best summer jobs either could have asked for.
The two Ontario natives have been travelling to a number of Canada’s national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas in an effort to inspire youth.
Little said the goal is to engage youth by showing some of the activities that can be done in provinces across the country.
“Because when people think of national parks they think, ‘Oh Banff’,” Little said while at Cavendish Beach Saturday. “But then we have places like Cavendish that are also fantastic. So we’re trying to showcase what all is out there.”
The two were in Cavendish with more than 30 members of the P.E.I. Explore program.
The group was made up of a number of Quebec youths who are in the province for five weeks this summer to learn English.
On Saturday, the group participated in a sandcastle building competition with the two youth ambassadors and hiked the Dunelands Trail.
They also staged a flash mob, which is when a large group suddenly breaks out in song and dance,for unsuspecting beach-goers.
Member Philippe Cadorette said the group, which has been in the province for only a week, has been enjoying its time in the province so far.
“It (five weeks) is a long time but it’s fun,” Cadorette said while building a stadium-inspired sandcastle.
Little and Woodhouse’s stay in P.E.I. was significantly shorter, with the two arriving on Wednesday before departing Sunday.
However, the two managed to fit a lot into their schedule.
While on P.E.I., the duo visited Province House, as well as the Green Gables Heritage Place.
They had also gone to Greenwich site of the National Park to participate in some conservation work.
“Multiple people had told us Greenwich Beach is one of the nicest beaches in the world and that it’s been ranked before as one of the top in North America,” said Woodhouse. “It didn’t disappoint.”
Being on the receiving end of Islanders’ hospitality also didn’t disappoint the two.
“People have been so welcoming to us the whole time since getting here,” said Little. “Parks staff have been bending over backwards to make sure we’re having the best experience we possibly could. We noticed they’re doing that for everybody, not just for us.
“This is the only province I had never visited. Now that I have visited, I love it and I’m coming back ASAP.”
Little and Woodhouse also loaned a hand at the P.E.I. 2014 Celebration Zone Friday evening during the Serena Ryder concert to help administer the Parks Canada “Who’s Your Father?” quiz.
With the agency hiring two new youth ambassadors every year, Woodhouse said there has never been one from P.E.I.
He said the two wanted to use the opportunity to spread the word to young Islanders interested in getting involved with Parks Canada.
“It could be someone between 18 to 25-year-old from P.E.I. next year and they would be able to share the Island with the rest of the country,” said Woodhouse. “The things we can share with each other in Canada, it’s a pretty special country to be a part of.”
Woodhouse said while the two have engaged Canadian youth in person, they’ve also been active on social media.