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 2018 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 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 renovating an off grid log home and has been working at 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”.
Miranda Bahng has currently finished her second-year at university and is working towards finishing her undergraduate degree! After volunteering with many social justice organizations, as a workshop educator and cohort member, she is stoked to find herself being part of the PSYL community! Miranda first landed on Canadian soil in 2000, arriving from South Korea with her family. Growing up in Vancouver, her social justice journey started in high school, thanks to her wonderful social justice teacher that encouraged her to volunteer and question the world.
She actively works to implement youth perspectives into conversations in the world - and strives towards a world filled with understanding and openness. She is a strong believer that everyone has an impact and that anyone can make a difference!
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!
Kelsey Cham C. Yīnyáng rén settler of Chinese-Irish descent living on Coast Salish territories, kelsey is a community organizer and high school drop-out dedicated to revolutionary change for social and climate justice. They spend a lot of time learning from their many practices to find grounded strength, flexibility and humility that support conflict resolution and movement toward positive cultural change. They received their Permaculture Design Certificate from the Nettle’s Guild in Vancouver and is the former garden coordinator at the Purple Thistle youth centre for arts and activism. kelsey is a 3-time national karate champion in Canada and now teaches karate to youth on Mayne Island. Kelsey is also co-founding director of Tiny Tiny Cozy Fest - an arts and music festival centering underrepresented artists of colour, women, queer, trans and 2spirit people as cultural creators and regenerators - and Old Dogwood, a 5-acre land-based community project acting as a bridge for urban and rural exchange on Mayne Island. Kelsey is currently working on what is perhaps the most challenging project of their life so far - building a little house with their partner.
Rebekah Parker is a PSYL alumna 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 fourth year. In 2017 she returned from a 9-month 10,000+km bike trip from Vancouver, BC to Cancún, Mexico then Calgary, AB to Vancouver, BC.
Rebekah wears many hats in her work life, from teaching climate change an renewable energy workshops with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation, to substitute teaching at a forest school, to doing developing one-page infographics on gender diversity issues. 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!