Our core team of Program Coordinators are professionally certified teachers, outdoor experiential educators and social change leaders. Each year, they come together to design PSYL, and then facilitate activities and workshops throughout the program. They offer resources and mentorship to participants in developing their own incredible ideas and projects.
Below are detailed descriptions about our PSYL 2017 Coordinators.
Michelle Clarke has taught in many different settings from a classroom to a canoe. Michelle coordinated the Thunder Bay Boys and Girls Club, while concurrently holding the director role at Camp McDougall during the summers. She holds a B.A. in Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Tourism as well as a BSc in Natural Science. Michelle recently completed her M.Ed at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, exploring how educators can Indigenize environmental education through participation in Land-based outdoor activities. Since completing her graduate studies, she has been working at the Forest School and Lakehead University helping students connect with the more than human world. She loves to travel and spend time in the outdoors, and can even throw a mean frisbee!
brad davis (MEd. RYT200) has spent his life working as a leadership and, ecological and social justice educator in schools, universities and communities. Internationally he has taught high school in Nigeria, created community-based theatre in the Philippines, and facilitated a university study-abroad program in India. brad spent a decade working with both undergraduate and graduate students in the unique travelling university ecological education and leadership program Audubon Expedition Institute (now Expedition Education Institute). He has taught about the importance of knowing where you live through the identification of local Sustainability Indicators, bioregional map creation, guiding river trips and teaching yoga. Since making his home on Vancouver Island (on Coast Salish land of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations) beside the Salish Sea in 2010, brad has integrated working at the Pearson Seminar on Youth Leadership/PSYL each summer with teaching yoga and meditation while continuing a life-long practice of biking to most places, paddling his canoe when he can, and caring for gardens both literal and metaphoric. Occasionally, you will see him in headstand in his canoe, or practicing crow pose in a Gary Oak.
As a child, Tahia Ahmed began interpreting the world for her mother as they navigated through unfamiliar places in the way that migrants in search of a new home often do. It was in these turbulent times that she discovered her power as an advocate and her passion for justice. Tahia has since committed herself to building resilience by bringing communities together. For nearly a decade, she has been working with youth across BC through the arts, popular education, and community organizing with organizations such as Check Your Head, ArtQuake, and the City of Victoria Youth Council. Along the way, Tahia has picked up skills as a mediator, yoga instructor, poet, and a doula. She trusts in the words of Arundhati Roy, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”.
Kim Meredith is a lover of dance, educator of peace, and researcher of multilingual inclusion. She was a coordinator at PSYL for five years from 2008-2012 and completed her PhD research in the PSYL community looking at innovative ways to include linguistic diversity such as the formation of a “Communication Crew.” She has taught English and Muglish (a language with no words—you’ll know it when you learn it!) in Japan, in Richmond, and around the world three times on the Peace Boat. She is also a dance educator who uses dance to help youth heal the whole self, build deep empathy, and explore issues of inclusion of all kinds but especially related to gender and sexual diversity. She is currently a global English educator at Pearson College’s IB program that brings together students from 80 different countries to use education as a force for peace.
Sonya Boya is thrilled to be returning to PSYL for a second summer as the wellness counsellor. She has spent most of her career working in not-for-profit community agencies, government mental health clinics and private practice in South Africa, Duncan, B.C. and Victoria, B.C. She is currently in full-time private practice in Victoria, and much of her work focusses on mental health, trauma, life transitions and relationships. She practices from an anti-oppressive, inclusive perspective and finds working with all ages very rewarding. When she is not working, she loves travelling, hosting international students, hiking, canoeing and spending time playing with friends and family!
Tobias Lemay lives on Coast Salish Territory with his fantastic partner and their baby, Billie-Hope, who is so very loved! Tobias is thrilled to be joining the PSYL coordinator team for the fourth time in 2017. He loves learning, creating, and working with youth. In 2015, Tobias founded the non-profit, Hammer and Saw:Youth Building Community. He completed the Technology Teacher Education program at BCIT and has a Bachelors of Education and teaching certificate from the University of British Columbia. Tobias is committed to social justice and has completed training in Next Up, Creative Facilitation, and Mental Health First Aid, Tobias has led workshops for the Vancouver Tool Library, at an Inward Bound Mindfulness Education teen retreat, and volunteered as a community educator for the Crisis Centre in Vancouver for three years. Tobias has taught at the Vancouver Waldorf School and is currently teaching Art and Woodwork at a middle school in his home community of New Westminster. Tobias is delighted to have the opportunity to again experience the magic that is PSYL!
Jo Bird Lemay is a loving, respectful and thought-full community educator. She works alongside marginalized communities to build community capacities, literacy and leadership skills for social/environmental justice. She's had the honour of collaborating with a very broad range of groups including First Nations communities, newcomers, sex workers, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2S folks, HIV+ people, and leaders in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In addition to working hands-on in community, she's developed many extensive and original curricula and is a proposal writer extraordinaire. She has achieved a Masters in Adult Learning and Global Change and a Provincial Instructors Diploma. Her number one favourite role is parenting her little one, and she loves playing outside, making up songs, meeting animals, and connecting with those near and dear. Lucky her--this is her 4th summer in the PSYL community.
Rebekah Parker is a PSYL alumnus with a love for the beautiful, unceded Coast Salish territories she lives, works, and plays in. She is thrilled to return to the program for her third year. For the last eight months she has been biking from Vancouver, BC to Cancún, Mexico with her partner. Living life in perpetual motion has brought many lessons and adventures (some of which you can read about on her blog) which she is excited to share with the PSYL community this summer.
Rebekah has worn many hats in her work life, from teaching bicycle safety to Grades 4 and 5 students, to developing one-page infographics on gender diversity issues for Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology. She gives thanks to programs like Check Your Head and Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness (CRUW) where she continued to learn and practice her facilitation and curriculum development skills. In 2015, she learned from and worked with PSYL participants to research ecojustice learning as part of her Master's in Ecojustice and Sustainability Education at UBC.
Jay Wade lives on unceded Coast Salish Territories and is excited to return to PSYL for his 5th summer. Jay enjoys creating fun and innovative learning opportunities that draw upon his experience as a wildlife biologist, his practice of wilderness living skills, his studies of human relationships and 14 years of work as a transformative facilitator. Jay leads programs for youth and adults in the exploration of gender and sexuality, nature connection, sustainable living and peaceful social change.
Jay currently works as a Youth and Family Worker with the Vancouver School Board’s Take A Hike Program, is working towards a Certificate in Counseling and is a Certified Sex Educator. In his spare time he also enjoys tracking animals, riding his bicycle, slack-lining, singing in a choir or growing food in the garden.
Jay is always excited to learn from the youth he works with, and is delighted to co-create another amazing summer at PSYL. See you soon!
Jon McPhederan Waitzer attended PSYL way back in 2000, and it changed their life. Since then, they've built a career working on social justice issues with diverse communities of youth. They have worked on international project management, organizational consulting, and education programs across government, business, and civil society. They recently spent four years leading Head & Hands, a Montreal youth empowerment organization that has operated since 1970 within a collective, consensus-based governance model... and they can't wait to return to their PSYL roots this summer as a program coordinator!