Next Up Ottawa: Growing social change in the middle of winter

It’s been quite a busy January for Next Up Ottawa.  Our participants have been engaging in some exciting projects. Kyla Farmer has been working hard with fellow community activists and artists to launch Disrupt Magazine, “A digital magazine and a movement designed to empower, inspire and inform current & aspiring social innovators, social entrepreneurs and all the ruthless visionaries, system-thinkers, entrepreneurs and artists who are committed to creatively destroying what doesn’t serve humanity.” Next Up Ottawa is excited to support her in this project.

Next Up’s Nathan Hauch spoke to the group about his work with Spinal Cord Injury Ontario , and the campaign to expand attendant services for people with physical disabilities.

Next Up Ottawa’s Grant MacNeil has been working to defend a student community garden at Carleton University, while working as President of the Graduate Students’ Association. Next Up came together to support Grant and his fellow students in a campaign to contest the university administration’s attempt to dismantle the garden. The garden remains intact and, if relocated by the univeristy, will be ready for the spring growing season thanks to the important student-led campaign to protect it. We are excited to continue supporting each other over the course of the year in the great projects currently underway by Next Uppers in Ottawa.

Sam Ponting, Program Coordinator // Next Up Ottawa

Next Up Saskatchewan rings in the new year!


Next Up Saskatchewan 2014!

Next Up Saskatchewan 2014!

Next Up Saskatchewan has rung in the new year with sessions on Unions 101, LGBTQ activism, Intersectional Feminism, Speciesism, and Food Sovereignty! We have also had a couple of social events outside of sessions, including a progressive potluck where visited six houses in one night, enjoying food, drinks & games at each stop!
We are also hard at work soliciting funds and building an advisory committee for a pilot-project in Saskatoon this July, where a cohort of Indigenous youth will go through a five-day intensive version of Next Up, covering some of Next Up’s core programming. Next Up Sask Grad and U of S Student Union president, Max FineDay, has agreed to co-coordinate this program with NU SK coordinator Tracey Mitchell.

Grads and current participants are hard at work on various events and activities including resistance to the lack of student consultation and regressive cutbacks of the TransformUS process at the University of Saskatchewan, organizing to bring in speakers from Elsipogtog’s anti-fracking blockade, and planning for a session on storytelling and social change organizing with educators from Upstream, Idle No More, The Broadbent Institute and 270 Strategies.


 med 500
Next Up gathering at Hollyhock, Cortes Island, BC 2013

Hello all and happy fall.

I hope that all of you are doing well.  I write this to you from Ottawa, heading a great day working with the group on a new Constellation of Change session. The last couple of months have been awesome – we completed selection and orientation in 5 cities and now have 5 cohorts of awesome across the country.

Our gathering in May was a time when, from the moment the ferry left the dock in Horseshoe Bay, every moment felt like an embodiment of the initial dream that helped to drive the formation of Next Up. One idea that drove our work was thinking that if we were serious about our ideas for social change, we needed to get serious about supporting, training and connecting next generation social change leaders across the country. With a new group in Ottawa and rumblings growing in other cities for programs and new partnerships – this is an amazing journey to be part of.

Where to now? Some neat stuff coming up: we have a 3-year capacity building grant from Vancity – thank you Vancity! This support is going towards a new database system, developing a monthly donor stewardship plan, admin support for the organization, and a few other core, not-terribly-flashy but absolutely essential background functions that will allow us to be better, smarter, faster than we were before.

There’s so much happening now that Next Up alum are involved with across the country, that it’s hard to capture all the amazing in one place – some things to look forward too:

A 5-day intensive Next Up program to be held in late spring in Saskatoon with First Nations, Metis and Inuit young people, promising discussions with folks in Inuvik and Winnipeg, Organize BC: a training partnership with several Environmental groups in BC, and much more.

That’s enough from us – thank you, all of you, for all that you do.

- Kevin Millsip