Kevin Millsip, Co-founder & Director // Next Up
In 1998 Kevin co-founded Check Your Head an organization that has worked with over 40,000 young people to get involved in global justice issues. He served as the Executive Director of CYH until 2009. In 2004 he co-founded Get Your Vote On – a campaign that registered 20,000 new voters for the 2005 provincial election in BC. He’s dabbled in municipal politics where he served as Vancouver School Board (VSB) Trustee. While on the VSB he drafted one of Canada’s strongest policies protecting students from advertising in schools, worked to increase student involvement in the VSB’s processes and helped develop sustainability related processes.
In 2005 he began working on what would become Next Up and coordinated the first two years of the BC program from 2007-2009. Since May 2009 he has been dividing his time between the VSB where he’s currently the Coordinator for Sustainability and in building Next Up across Western Canada.
ps – He loves his rooftop garden and his blue bike.
Andrea Curtis, Program Coordinator // Next Up BC
Since riding West from the Prairies in 2005, Andrea has been making waves on the West Coast in Vancouver as a community organizer and event producer. Hailing from a background in art making and arts organizing she has since fueled her passion for culture into a vehicle for social change and environmental stewardship. Andrea is a proud and active Next Up Alumni member. After completing the program in Spring of 2009, she joined the organizing team to assist in seeking out, supporting and unifying young, progressive leaders with the Next Up program. Aside from her work now as Next Up BC Coordinator, Andrea is Co-Director of creative project management company Transformation Projects. Andrea brings her experience in community engagement, creative strategy, leadership and facilitation to Next Up. For her Next Up has become more than a passion and experiment in providing tools and networks to our next leaders — It’s an ever expanding family and an investment in our collective future.
Lindsay Ruth Hunt, Program Coordinator // Next Up Edmonton
Lindsay Ruth Hunt is a theatre practitioner, critical educator, community development worker and all round agitator. She is passionate about the role of arts in activism and social justice projects and believes that critical education and art can provide a necessary means to intervene in troubling social and environmental realities that we are presently faced with. In her work she aims to engage with communities working toward social change, to transform social structures in a manner that improves the capacity of individuals, communities and society at large. She envisions and works with arts as a tool for promoting such change, advocating for a more equitable and just society through a creative means. Her practice has been focused on the use of Theatre of the Oppressed but more recently is branching out to multiple modes of community engagement…all in the hopes of educating, inspiring, provoking and promoting social justice.
Her background includes a BFA specializing in theatre and development, an M.Ed. taking a critical look at the present day education system and the potential for popular education and arts, and she is presently working on a PhD investigating the role of community performance as a tool to intervene and challenge our relationship to consumer culture.
She is excited to be a member of the Next Up team and truly believes that we are at a critical moment in time and Next Up is a necessary forum to foster and develop the leaders that our communities need.
Mike Byerley, Program Coordinator // Next Up Calgary
Sentiment without Action is the ruin of the Soul
- Edward Abbey
After 14 years as a petroleum geologist Mike left the industry to take responsibility for his own actions on climate and environmental change. In addition to coordinating the Calgary program for Next Up, he is also the Community Liaison Coordinator for Amazon Watch, a NGO that supports the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon in defending their rights and environment. As Liaison Mike collaborates with Indigenous people in Canada and the Amazon to develop solidarity and mutual support networks that support Indigenous self-determination and ecological integrity. Mike has been car free since 2010 and is an avid cyclist, balcony gardener and sometime event producer. He is a volunteer board member for several non-profit organisations.
Tracey Mitchell, Program Coordinator // Next Up Saskatchewan
For the past ten years, Tracey has worked with various community-based and non-profit groups from mental health organizations to international development agencies. She has helped these organizations create innovative programming for public engagement, as well as evaluating and improving those programs. In other words, she got to write comics and make theatre about global justice issues and got paid for it. Tracey has also facilitated organizational development processes for about five years, such as visioning and strategic planning. Tracey has a BA in History and Sociology from the University of Saskatchewan and a variety of training in facilitation and evaluation methods.
Some of Tracey’s favorite things are, in no particular order: doing things that are considered impossible; building community; looking at problems from all sides; designing workshops; planning; meetings; planning meetings; program evaluation; listening; taking notes/minutes; helping people/organizations build their capacity; seeing people/ organizations discover their brilliance; being creative; playing; reading; writing; research; working with groups to create theatre about issues concerning them; thinking outside the box; laughing; hearing different perspectives; digging through archives; thinking really hard; social justice; dancing; pushing the edges; helping make things easier for others
Sam Ponting, Program Coordinator // Next Up Ottawa
Hailing from southern Ontario, Sam moved to Ottawa in 2005 to pursue her undergrad at the University of Ottawa. Her major introduction to social movements began on campus, where her disdain for militarism led her to join the Student Coalition Against War. As an anti-war organizer, Sam has worked extensively with a variety of community partners to build up public pressure against harmful Canadian foreign policy.
Passionate about Indie media, Sam joined the editorial board of the Leveller in 2010, a grassroots community newspaper seeking to level the playing field amidst a game of corporate heavy hitters. Her work on the paper stems from a passion for accessible, popular education at the local level.
While pursuing a master’s degree in political economy at Carleton University, Sam joined her union executive, working as Co-Chief Steward of CUPE local 4600, where she continues to promote workers’ rights and labour solidarity among Carleton’s campus community.
A lover of all things nature, Sam likes hiking, camping, and biking (while still working up the stamina to hit her tires to the plentiful Ottawa snow). In her down time, she seeks out different creative outlets, including guitar and creative writing.
She thinks Ottawa is an excellent new site to build the Next Up program, and she’s excited to join the team at such an important stage in its expansion. She’s looking forward to further explore the passion and talent she’s witnessed resonate within the city.