Give To Next UP For #GivingTuesday

Canada Helps has generously offered to add an extra $5.00 to all donations of $25.00 or more that are made today on #GivingTuesday! If Next UP has impacted you, we ask for a small donation today so we can continue to invest in the next generation of progressive justice leaders.

This is a critical time. RIGHT NOW, young people, all across our network, are challenging unfair, exploitative, and oppressive systems of power - through big and small actions, in systems and out of systems, and deep in community. 
We’re preparing to launch our next wave of programs across Canada in early 2020! We need to support young leaders in affecting change, now, more than ever and We need your help to make this happen!
Find out more about whats coming up and to be notified of applications: Here
Donate today and we get an extra $5 - a little goes a long way! Here

Thank you for all you are doing. 



It's a critical time

This is a critical time. The normalization of neoliberalism, systemic oppressions and colonization, stalling of climate justice, and the rise in fascist attitudes are serious and complex problems of our time. I see Next UP grads across the country organizing, working in agencies and systems, and holding space for justice. I just can’t imagine this moment in time without the strength of folks just like you, working to create a better world for everyone. We also have work to do.

We need your support! Become a monthly donor!

Next UP is currently doing important and essential work on our own internal systems. This includes:

  • deepening our commitment and approach to decolonization and equity,
  • being critical of our role in perpetuating systems of harm,
  • evaluating and enhancing core programming,
  • and shifting to centre relationships as our core principle.

Frankly, this kind of content and container work can be a hard sell to large funders. We are currently relying on donations to sustain the work on these changes that we believe are absolutely necessary as we prepare to invest in the next generation of young justice leaders.

Please show your support for our evolution by becoming a monthly donor - for whatever amount feels right to you. If you are already a monthly donor, please consider increasing your donation. I would like to increase each city’s monthly donors by 10 supporters before the end of the year. With over 900 grads across the country, I know it’s possible! Next UP can’t do this work without your support.


Thank you for your support, ideas, and encouragement as we build up our capacity and make plans for the future. Together, we can make the world a more just and equitable place.


Board of Directors Call-Out

The Global Youth Education Network Society (genius) was formed in 2004 in Vancouver. The mission of genius is to build capacity in the progressive social change sector, including, but not limited to, youth organizations. The social and environmental challenges that we face are big and interconnected. There aren’t simple answers to many of the issues that we work on, so we believe that in order for us to actualize the kind of change that needs to happen, we need to understand many aspects of how change is made - both inside and outside of systems.

Our flagship program, Next UP, is a national leadership program for young people committed to environmental, economic, and social justice. We offer programs of varying lengths and focus on seven cities across Canada: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg & Ottawa. 

We seek to foster diverse strategies that challenge the root causes of social, economic and environmental injustices; specifically, exploitive and unsustainable economic systems, colonization, white supremacy and privilege, imperialism and cis-hetero-patriarchy. Although we recognize that we do not all share a vision on how best to do this, we seek to build solidarity among activists.  

We are seeking passionate and knowledgeable Board Members who can strengthen our work in organizational change and financial sustainability. It is time for us to rethink our systems and meaningfully address the root causes of inequity in the non-profit sector and our own organizing work. 

We appreciate lived experiences and diverse forms of education. We value the unique experiences and insights from people from marginalized communities, and encourage applications from LGBTTQ+ people, Indigenous peoples, people of colour, low-income earners, young people, the unemployed, and people with disabilities. If you wish to identify as a member of one or more of these groups, please indicate this in your application.

Although you don’t have to have been on a Board before, we are seeking new members with the following experience and interests:

  • A background in fundraising, financial management, non-profit management, organizational change, grassroots organizing, popular education, or with related issues
  • Knowledge of economic, social and environmental justice, labour issues, anti-oppression issues and movements, and their interconnections
  • Knowledge of, and willingness to work within, anti-racist and anti-oppression frameworks - and commitment to ongoing learning/un-learning and reflection
  • Deep curiosity for transformative processes and the human spirit

Board Member Responsibilities:

  • Provide active support for fundraising and development activities;
  • Participate actively in meetings and committees;
  • Attend events and activities as a representative;
  • Be knowledgeable and informed about the mission, vision and strategic direction of genius;
  • Support the work of genius by providing encouragement and support for the work of the staff and volunteers.

Time commitment:

On average, the genius board meets 6-8 times per year. Directors can attend in person or join by video conference. Board members are also encouraged to serve on working groups and committees, which involve additional meetings and working on deliverables independently or with others. Approximate time commitment is 5-10 hours per month.


  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must commit to a 24 month term, renewable for additional terms
  • Must live in a city where genius programs have been offered: Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, or Vancouver.

How to Apply:

By email to, including:

  1.     Subject Line: Application – Board of Directors
  2.     A letter or video that tells us about yourself, your interest in working with us, and answers the question: What role do you believe young people have in social change?
  3.     Your resume
  4.     Three (3) references
  5.     Please label your attachments: firstname_lastnameBOD.docx and email to

Applications accepted until all positions are filled. Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.  Please note that members of the Board serve on a volunteer basis and without remuneration (payment).

You can download the PDF of this call out here.


Meet Paisley Nahanee, Right Relations Director

I am thrilled to welcome Paisley Nahanee to our staff team as Right Relations Director, in partnership with IndigenEYEZ.

Paisley Eva Nahanee is from the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation village of Eslha7an. She was raised by a family of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Matriachs that for generations have been pioneers of feminism, social justice, and racial equity. They inspired her and taught her to how to advocate for these things at an early age. Her approach to social change is always based in indigeneity and cultural teachings. It’s about sharing knowledge and stories to grow as a society. She practices calling in organizations, instead of calling out to include Indigenous people and ideologies in a post-colonial, post-capitalist society. You can read her full bio HERE.

It is time to rethink our systems and meaningfully address the root causes of inequity in the non-profit sector and our own organizing work.

Our mandate is to build capacity in the progressive movement to address issues of oppression and colonization, and, in doing that, we cannot neglect to confront our own ways of perpetuating systems of harm. Affirmed by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls to Action, there is a responsibility on social justice organizations to lead transformative change in reconciliation. We must listen first, understand organizational truths, and centre reciprocal relationships. There is a need for us to do some deep relationship-building in a way that weaves equity and recognizes Indigenous sovereignty through all aspects of our work.

As part of our continued priority to deepen and strengthen our equity and anti-oppression work within Next UP, I’m excited to learn with and from Paisley about decolonized spaces, as we build potential best practices together. Over the next few months, she will also lead other progressive youth to challenge how we talk about colonization and equity in the non-profit sector.

Welcome, Paisley!

This project is funded as part of the Vancouver Foundation’s LEVEL – Youth Granting.

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Join Us for the Saskatoon Information and Feedback Session

It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to bring the Next UP cohorts together, and now it's time to re-connect. There’s a lot happening in the community right now and it’s becoming more and more vital for us to support one another, in whatever ways we can. We also want to share what’s happening with Next UP this year and hear your feedback.

You are invited to a casual information and feedback session this Saturday at Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op from 1pm-4pm (905 20th St West). Selena (Next UP Executive Director) will be here to share what’s happening with Next UP and to hear what you need/want from our Next UP community in Saskatoon. All feedback is welcome and helpful! Whether we have 5 or 50 of us, it will be good to have you there.

If you can’t make it this weekend but would like to connect to discuss Next UP, or if you can offer support for the work ahead, please email Selena at and she’ll be in touch.

Hope to connect soon,

Manuela Valle Castro, Next UP Saskatchewan Coordinator

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One Year Reflection and the Work Ahead

It has been one year since I started as Executive Director with genius, and I would like to share with you my reflections on this past year, as well as inform you of what’s next and the ways in which we will need your support for the work ahead.

Reflecting Back

This past year has been one of transition and learning in so many ways. As an alumna of Next UP myself, it is an enormous privilege for me to be learning this new role within a community that I already care deeply about. I’ve felt supported in transitioning to work again with a toddler in tow - my daughter, Eloise, often joining a meeting, presentation, or video call. I’m listening and learning about what it means for me to be an ally and how to work in solidarity to challenge oppressive systems of power. I’ve also been busy connecting with countless grads, partners, and supporters who have shared with me their experiences of Next UP over the years. I’ve been surprised at just how different each of our programs are, and yet, I’m most struck by the deep sense of community.

Eloise on her way to the next intensive

Next UP has long been supported and held up in solidarity by the labour movement and progressive community, developing the program from the ground up. We would not be where we are today without the foundation you have all laid - your generosity of time, your sharing of expertise, critical funding, and on-the-ground support. With over 800 grads, the impact of your work is being seen throughout progressive movements! The past 13 years have also brought opportunities for growth and learning – Next UP programs have evolved, community needs have changed, and we are emboldened more and more by the network of grads and allies who are activating this work in new ways. 

We want to build on the already incredible work being done by grads and Next UP staff across Canada. This past year, our work included:

  • Ten focused intensives across Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatchewan;
  • Connecting events in Vancouver, Saskatoon, and Ottawa to bring together Next UP alumna and other progressive youth;
  • A condensed cohort in Edmonton;
  • A gathering hub for social change leaders through our “Social Justice Sunday School” partnership in Saskatoon; 
  • A game-jam and game-design program in Saskatoon that brought together Indigenous and racialized youth to explore their shared experiences of racism (with Inspirit Foundation and Neeched Up Games);
  • Hired a Right Relations Director, to help lead us in decolonizing our own systems, and convene a dialogue series around colonial harm in organizing (in partnership with IndigenEYEZ).

Indigenous Youth in Action with Kim Haxton

So, What’s Next at Next UP?

As our communities face increased challenges, I see a vital role for young people in maintaining justice initiatives at both community and systems levels.I’ve heard from our network a need for Next UP to review our processes and refresh our curriculum to address the most pressing issues of this moment in time. This certainly isn’t a period of rest – it may even be the most challenging (and exciting!) work we’ve done yet! The work ahead includes:

  • Finalizing our equity audit, to be shared in full;
  • Deepening our commitment and approach to decolonization and equity with our Right Relations Director;
  • Taking time this Fall to evaluate and enhance core programming, solidify funding relationships, and build capacity within Next UP;
  • Preparing for the next generation of activists, with the goal of reanimating a cohort series in early 2020.

I can’t imagine doing any of this without the support of our network - YOU. Each conversation, email, and phone-call I’ve had this past year is influencing the work being done now. Your voice and feedback are so important to this process. In each region, we will be bringing grads and partners together to talk through some of these changes and to listen to what you and your communities need from Next UP.  Until then, we will keep you updated on events and progress via our Facebook page and emails like this one.  If you would like to reflect on your experience of Next UP and/or offer support in your city, please fill out this form HERE – and we’ll be in touch in September.

We’re Stronger, Together

Next UP was created with the belief that a better world is not just possible but is imperative; we must continue to support young leaders if we are to find solutions to our collective challenges. I believe in this mission, now, more than ever. The normalization of neoliberalism, systemic oppression and colonization, stalling of climate justice, and the rise in fascist attitudes are all serious and complex problems that are weaving their way into the fabric of our communities. We have an incredible opportunity this year to strengthen our response and model that justice work must also be JUST.

I’m grateful to have had such an incredible team and Board of Directors who really believe in social change and in our work together. I want to also thank all of you for the ways you have supported and contributed to Next UP over the past 13 years, including welcoming me through this year of transition. We’re proud of the work we’ve done and we’re excited for the work to come that will make the future even more resilient and Just. 

With gratitude,


Executive Director,

genius//Next UP//Organize BC


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National Indigenous Peoples Day

Today we celebrate Indigenous resilience and strength, creativity and innovation, diversity and relations. We must also think critically about the injustices Indigenous peoples experience every day. Direct erasure of Indigenous identities is continued today through exploitative and unsustainable economics, systemic white supremacist policies, normalized and unchecked racism, and settler-centred reconciliation. 

We commit to disrupt and dismantle colonial systems by persistently challenging our place on these lands and standing in solidarity with the rights for Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty. As we try and understand the truth that needs to come before reconciliation, here are some possible resources below.

Post any other resources you might want to share in the comments!

- Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report:

- Land Acknowledgement App:

- Red Women Rising:

- 5 Actions you Can Take:

- Indigenous Ally Toolkit:


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CLP in the New Energy Economy Blog

A climate leadership program for the rest of us

CLP2 R2.jpeg


“I want to make a difference: I can’t make a climate treaty, I already compost … what’s in between?”

It’s a sentiment Mike Byerley hears often: More and more people want to get involved in climate action, but don’t know where to start.

Byerley is the director of programming with the Regeneration Learning Society, and runs the annual Alberta Climate Leadership Program.

“The program is for people outside the climate enterprise,” said Byerley, a geologist by training who worked in the Alberta oil patch for 13 years. “They are not activists, they are not climate scientists, they are not working in the policy sector or government.

“The people in the program are basically the 85 per cent of people excluded from participation on climate change.”

The five-month program, which is spread over five weekends, aims to help Alberta residents gain an understanding of the systemic nature of climate change and then apply that understanding to their own situations.

It’s our belief that the people closest to the system
are not the best to change the system.

“It’s our belief that the people closest to the system are not the best to change the system,” he said.

Each year the program accepts 25 participants over the age of 25 who are more established in their professional lives, understand the context in which they are working, and are on a leadership track. Sometimes these are people who have acquired the role of “climate person” or “environmental liaison” at their current jobs.

For example, the program’s alumni include a National Energy Board employee who manages stakeholder relationships with indigenous communities, a climate coordinator for a local governance council, as well as people from the regulatory sector and from oil and gas companies.

“They have the same cares and concerns and interests,” said Byerley, particularly people working in the oil and gas sector, “and they don’t feel like they can do anything.”

The program includes five weekend retreats in different locations (Calgary, Edmonton, Kananaskis and Red Deer). While it doesn’t have an academic focus, the program does begin with some classroom theory on economics, the petro-state, neoliberalism, and how justice affects social change.

“If you are working to change the world, people need to understand what you are asking and be interested in what you are asking,” said Byerley.

Participants then move on to develop their own projects, learning how to design, test and operationalize ideas.

Byerley said more than half of the participants carry their projects through to the end, even after they’ve completed the course. Some of the projects started during the program have led to an oil field company setting up a $2 million green tech fund, a food waste and surplus food recovery program, and an unlikely partnership between a solar energy company and an immigration resettlement worker doing home energy audits.

In addition to the theory and project work, a third aspect of the program is peer-based learning, where participants have the chance to work in groups and learn from each other.

“[We want people] saying lots of things out loud, because that changes your relationship to an idea,” said Byerley.

At the end of the five-month program, the intent is for participants to have the tools, skills and knowledge to add a climate change twist to the work they are already doing.

“We’re not asking people to do new work, we are asking people to add to their work,” said Byerley. “No one wants to do something new, but they don’t mind doing a little more.”


Applications are open until Feb. 25.

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Meet your new Next UP BC Coordinator!

We are excited to announce Jackson Wai Chung Tse | 謝瑋聰 as our new Next UP BC Coordinator!
Here is a message from Jackson:


Dear Next UP BC!

It is with deep humility that I write to you today. I feel like I am (re)joining a path trodden by so many brilliant people before me. You shine like stars in your places in the world, and I am so grateful to accompany you along this small part of our journeys together.

For me, Next UP was first and foremost a community building experience. Even though I might not remember all the curriculum or resonate with all that was presented, the relationships I built were invaluable and are friends I still cherish to this day.

One of my biggest priorities now is to listen. Over the next few months, I would love to connect with you, and as the new BC Coordinator I hope to provide opportunities for BC alumni to network with each other. If you’re interested in these upcoming gatherings, feel free to keep an eye out on social media or on your emails.

As we figure out our next steps, I invite you to be patient with me, to share with me, and to hold me accountable as I move forward in this role. I will make mistakes, and am continuously learning/unlearning.

But, like many of you, I am also hopeful, hardworking, and a seeker of justice. I look forward to seeing you and hearing you in the months to come.

Sending my best,
Jackson Wai Chung Tse | 謝瑋聰
Pronouns: He, She, They
Jackson Wai Chung Tse | 謝瑋聰
Photography by the talented and vivacious Alana Paterson:
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Support Young Leaders

"Like the rivers that connect this country, carving out pathways and enriching local communities, Next UP provides many opportunities for its participants to connect with their communities and question how they might create change.”

Jodi Lammiman, Next UP Calgary 3

Thank you for your support, ideas, and encouragement during this year of transition. Next UP’s goal continues to be to equip young people with the skills and tools needed to become effective leaders in movements for progressive social, economic, and environmental change.

Snapshot intensives, coupled with a shorter cohort program enable us to be responsive to community needs. In this time of increased polarity, I believe that now, more than ever, we need to support young leaders if we are to find solutions to our collective challenges.

Your support makes this all possible. Next UP costs approximately $2500/participant and we get by on a small budget. Your donations help us address accessibility needs, pay our presenters fairly, support young leaders to attend our programs at minimal (or no) cost to themselves, and plan ahead.

For every $50 donation made by January 1st, 2019, you will receive a set of unique Next UP "The River" cards, designed by Next Up alumna, Jodi Lammiman, and a charitable tax receipt for the full amount of your gift.

For every $100 donation made by January 1st, 2019, you will receive a coloured print of “The River” by Jodi Lammiman and a charitable tax receipt for the full amount of your gift.

Donate Now!

Thanks for all that you do. Let’s work with empathy and act with courage as we shape a more Just and equitable society, together.


Selena, on behalf of Next UP

P.S. If you would rather give monthly with whatever amount feels right to you, you can sign up as a monthly donor.

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