Youth Climate Connections Retreat


Youth Climate Connections Retreat

Are you a current high school student who lives in the Adirondacks, Champlain Valley, or Eastern Ontario? Join us this summer for the Youth Climate Connections Retreat where we will explore climate change and climate action through our shared ecological and social connections. The Youth Climate Connections retreat will be hosted at North Country School's Rock-E House in Lake Placid, NY from July 22nd - 25th, 2024.

Retreat Description

Over the course of the four day, three night retreat you will participate hands on, engaging climate change workshops; team build and bond with other climate change-makers from across the Champlain-Adirondack and Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserves; and experience the beautiful planet that we are working to protect! This year's retreat has a special focus on the many kinds of connections you can find across the climate change movement. We will explore what these connections means, how to deepen them, and how you can use them to uplift your climate work.
Connecting to Self
Connecting to Place
Connecting to Community


- Participate in engaging workshops on:
          - Climate mental health
          - Land-based activities
          - Finding your place in the climate movement


- A guided, experiential hike in the High Peaks region of the Adirondack Park
- Field trips to:
          - The North Country School's sustainable farm
          - The Wild Center
          - John Brown Farm State Historic Site


- Interactive workshops on:
          - Community-based science
          - UN Sustainable Development Goals
          - Climate storytelling
- Relaxing at the beautiful Rock-E House on Round Lake

Meet with an Elected Official

Meeting with an elected official is a great way to get your foot in the door, learn more about what your community is doing, and to get a clearer understanding of where your town stands in regards to becoming a Climate Smart Community. This can be a great way to begin integrating yourself within your municipality, making connections, and finding allies.

Present at a Public Meeting

After you have done your research, familiarized yourself with your local governments processes, and met with atleast one local official you will want to present at a public meeting.

Pass a CSC Resolution

The first step towards CSC certification is to pass a CSC resolution. While some parts of the resolution can be modified to fit your community, all 10 points of the CSC pledge must be included. This resolution must be signed by the municipal clerk adn then uploaded into the online portal.

Once you have passed your CSC resolution you will need to:

- Select a CSC point person
- Register your community in the CSC program
- Create a CSC task force
- Execute your climate actions
- Apply for certification

Select a CSC Point Person and Register your Community

The CSC point person will take on the responsibility of leading the CSC effort on behalf of the local government. Typically, the CSC point person will complete tasks such as uploading the signed CSC resolution, completing the online registration process, and creating the CSC task force.

Once the CSC resolution has been signed and you have appointed your CSC point person, they can register your community using the online registration form.

Create a CSC Task Force

If your community is already registered or certified, your regional CSC Coordinator can connect you with your local CSC point person or task force to find out how you can get involved with ongoing projects.

The CSC task force will carry out the important work of selecting and completing actions to work towards CSC certification. After receiving your certification, the task force can help draft local Climate Action Plans, create climate policy, and continue to complete recommended climate actions.

Determine the size of your task force

When deciding on how many members you want to invite to your task force you will have to balance a few competing priorities:

- Having enough people to divide the work so that your task force will be effective
- Creating a diverse group so that you have many perspectives and identities represented
- Keeping your team small enough so that you can organize and manage all of the members efficiently

Create a contact list of possible members

Create your list based on the skills, interests, and relevant experiences of community members who you believe will be able to contribute to the CSC certification process. Consider including individuals from different local government departments (energy, waste, planning, and transportation), local business owners, students, educators, farmers, and elected officials.

Invite members to the task force

When you reach out to possible task force members remember to:

- Provide a background on the CSC program.
- Explain why their skills and experiences are need on the task force.
- This is a great opportunity to use your position as a young person to ask community members to join the task force

Finalize task force members and assign roles

You can let people decide what interests them and how they would like to contribute.

Execute your Climate Actions

After registering your community, your task force will need to work together to complete selected actions outline by the CSC certification program. While there is no time limit to achieving certification, your task force should develop a plan and a timeline so that you can get your community certified.

Determine which certification level you want to achieve

Depending on where your community is in the process will effect what certification level you will be trying to attain.

Depending on where your community is in the Climate Smart Communities program you will want to adjust accordingly. If you have not yet received certification, aim for Bronze level certification. If you are already Bronze level certified or nearly there you may aim for Silver level certification.

Decide which application cycle deadline you will try to meet

Checkout the Certification Application Cycle page and decide which application cycle will work best for your unique goals and circumstance of your community. 

Review the action list to determine any actions your local government has already completed

Make sure that you have collected, recorded, and uploaded any materials or necessary documents you may need in order to get credit for these actions.

Begin selecting actions from the action list that your local government will complete

Being with the Mandatory and Priority Actions and the move onto other actions. When selecting other actions, consider the following:

- Actions related to relevant climate impacts in your community that need to be addressed such as flooding, drought, or extreme heat

- Actions that will save money for your local government and/or your community's residents

- Actions that are related to specific skills or interests of task force members.

- Actions that are easy to complete, including those that may already be in progress

Assign tasks force members to work on each action

Once you have determined which actions you would like to begin working on, assign leads for each action, create a plan on how you will accomplish your goals, and make sure to stay organized so that you can effectively complete each step.

Create a timeline

Create a timeline of when you hope to accomplish each action by. Depending on how you organize your timeline, you may want to create sub goals within each action. You should consider using SMARTIE goals in order to understand what completing each action requires and how you will go about accomplishing them.

Apply for Certification

Once you have passed your CSC resolution, completed your action items, and earned enough points you are ready to apply for CSC certification. INSERT MORE DESCRIPTION

Ensure you have completed your action items

Make sure that you have completed all of the mandatory action items and that you have accumulated enough points to earn your certification.

Collect all necessary summaries and documentation

Make sure that you have collected all of the necessary documentation for each action item that your task force has completed. We recommend using a collaborative file sharing platform like Google Drive or Box. Make sure that you submit all of your documentation to your regional CSC Coordinator for them to review.

Upload your documentation for completed actions

Upload all documentation for your completed actions to the online portal.

Submit your application package

Once you have uploaded all of your documentation, submit your application package before the deadline of whichever application cycle you are intending to apply in. Once you hit submit, you will not be able to access your application until it has been reviewed.

Wait for a response from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

The NYS DEC will be back to you shortly with an update on your application status. This may look like an award certification, a request for changes, or they may seek additional information.

Make any necessary changes

If your application was not accepted, make any necessary adjustments that the NYS DEC requires and resubmit your application.


Congratulations, you have made your community a certified Climate Smart Community. Make sure to spread the word and let your community know about your great work!


Please apply to the Youth Climate Connections Retreat as soon as possible to secure your spot! Applications will be accepted until Friday May 31st, at 5:00 pm. We encourage thoughtful responses and early applications!
                      Apply Here
This project has been funded wholly or in part by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) under an assistance agreement to NEIWPCC in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program.