Youth Committee Members
Meet our 2016 Youth Committee! Our deepest appreciation to outgoing Youth Representative on the FBC Board and Youth Committee Co-Chair, Ruth Legg for her years of valuable service, and welcome to her successor Ashley Dobko.
FBC Directors Satwinder Bains, Chris Kelly and Barb Strachan also serve on the Youth Committee.
Ashley is Co-Chair of the Fraser Basin Council’s Youth Committee and currently serves as the Board’s youth representative. She joined the youth committee to share her knowledge, opinions and passion for sustainability as well as to learn from other youth members on important sustainability issues and initiatives.
She has a degree in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of British Columbia where she majored in science and management. Throughout her degree, she worked and studied in the dendrochronology field doing multiple projects with youth and community members to increase community interest in environmental science. Currently she works with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy unit.
Ashley was born and raised in Metro Vancouver. She has had a passion for environmental sciences and sustainability since a young age and has pick up many sustainable hobbies along the way. Some of these hobbies include beekeeping, furniture reclamation, gardening and composting. She thinks it is very important to have youth connected and engaged in environmental decision making and aware of current and potential conservation concerns and mitigation strategies.
Natalya is Co-Chair of the Fraser Basin Council’s Youth Committee. Her home (Sorrento) is on Shuswap Lake in the Thompson region, and she is currently living in Vancouver. She joined the Youth Committee because she wanted to connect with and contribute to FBC’s positive work throughout her home basin. The opportunity to help promote the perspective of young people within the internal processes and projects of FBC drew Natalya to the Council.
Outside of Natalya’s academic work as a doctoral candidate researching BC water policy and governance, she is involved in numerous sustainability-related activities. Examples include participating in the 2014 Sustainable Living Leadership Program in which she canoed/rafted down the Fraser River; representing Canada as a young water leader at the 2014 Singapore International Water Week; acting as a facilitator for Impact, the Canada-wide youth sustainability conference; and volunteering for local and international causes with Rotary.
Natalya desires to help contribute to social and environmental resilience and believes that doing so helps empower other young people to become engaged in decision-making that impacts them.
Bio to come!
Rebecca grew up in Vancouver and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Urban Planning at UBC's School of Community and Regional Planning where her research focuses on climate change adaptation and policy planning. She recently spent seven months working at the municipal planning office of Dakar, the capital of Sénégal, located on a peninsula in francophone West Africa, which is increasingly threatened by erosion and flooding due to rising sea levels.
Her experience in Dakar piqued her interest in sea level rise adaptation and the host of planning challenges it brings. This spurred her to join the Fraser Basin Council Youth Committee in 2015, as FBC’s work involves developing a regional flood management strategy that will include sea level rise adaptation. She hopes to help bring the youth perspective to this work, since the next generation will be the first to really feel the impacts of this climate risk in the region.
Rebecca is also a member of Waterlution Canada’s new Watercity 2040 program. This is a multi-stakeholder scenario planning initiative launched in September 2014 to develop a 25-year water vision for Vancouver, bringing together community and decision-makers. She has also worked with the City of North Vancouver and the City of Surrey, studying the challenges of sea level rise and adaptation. In her free time, Rebecca gets her dance on, working as a local swing dance instructor and enjoys exploring places near and far astride her trusty two-wheeled bicycle steed.
Brock Endean was born and raised on the Little Shuswap in the Village of Chase. He joined the Youth Committee after working with the FBC team in facilitating youth engagement at the 2015 Together Shuswap workshop.
Early in his childhood, Brock was taught the importance of citizenship. He became an active young leader in his community by volunteering with many local organizations while also creating new ones. His passion for sustainable community development and expertise in project management has led him to undertake volunteer and work experiences across BC, Canada and other parts of the world, including England, Ethiopia, Mexico and Peru.
Brock is excited to work with other youth to support FBC’s vision and develop more young leaders throughout the province.
Chris Herc is originally from Rothesay, New Brunswick and a graduate of the University of New Brunswick in 2012. Since then he has been working across the country and recently moved to Sooke, British Columbia.
Chris joined the Fraser Basin Youth Committee in November 2014, which he saw as a great opportunity for personal development and a way to help provide opportunities and solutions to challenges that many youth and young adults are facing today.
Chris also volunteers with Transition Sooke, which has the goal of making Sooke a more resilient and sustainable community. He thinks more importance should be placed on educating people on the meaning of community sustainability; that way there is more understanding of why it is beneficial. With more of an understanding in place, it should be easier create community that is balanced in environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Neelam Minhas was born and raised in Prince George.
She joined the Fraser Basin Youth Committee in 2012. Her decision to do so was based on the fact that she knew very little about sustainability and about the organization and it was therefore a learning experience.
Neelam is currently involved with the Canadian Cancer Society, Ecuaexperience, and the Junior Volunteer Program at the University Hospital of Northern BC. Her vision for her participation on the Youth Committee is to be able to make a mark, and make a difference.
She believes that sustainability is an important factor that needs to be emphasized more; overexploitation may result in short-term economic benefits, but may not be useful in the long-term. By establishing sustainable practices, the economy is able to flourish. She would like to learn more about ways to increase awareness about sustainable practices and bring about positive change.
Callista NHJ Ryan joined the Fraser Basin Youth Committee in 2014 to meet other amazing youth from throughout the Basin and learn more about sustainability.
She is very active in Squamish and considers herself very politically engaged. She hopes to start a Squamish shadow council in her community, and to work with the other youth province-wide and learn about their initiatives.
Ashleigh Yakemchuk was born in Edmonton where she lived until she was 17. She has since lived in Chilliwack and Yarrow in the Fraser Valley and now resides in Aldergrove.
Ashleigh joined the Youth Committee in January 2015 because of her interest in promoting sustainability to youth in the Valley and working with committee members who share that same passion. This is also an opportunity for her to connect with others in the Fraser Basin Council and members of her community.
Ashleigh recently completed her undergraduate degree at University of the Fraser Valley, and most of the volunteer work she has done has been water sampling on the Fraser River as part of an ongoing project with the Global Rivers Observatory. She has also done some riparian planting for the Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition and the Langley Environmental Partners Society — work that is dirty, tiring, but very rewarding.
Ashleigh envisions community sustainability as everyone, young and old, working together and being open to new sustainable possibilities to make sure the community can thrive in the present, and far future.
Katie Youwe is from Heffley Lake and represents the Thompson Region. She joined the Fraser Basin Youth Committee in November 2013, attracted to the Committee through curiosity and the desire to further educate herself on a region to which she feels so connected. While she dabbles in the coastal life of Squamish, the Thompson Region is her home base.
Katie has gained experience in agroforestry research with the Ministry of Agriculture and has also helped the City of Kamloops in its implantation of the public engagement phase of the most recent community plan update and review.
She believes that we have ample opportunity to educate ourselves on all things sustainability and, in turn, have an environmental, social and cultural responsibility to share our knowledge and awareness. Given adequate voice and resources, youth have the potential to foster positive change, and Katie hopes that through her experiences with the Youth Committee, she can be a part of that change.