Join us

Next Up


a leadership program for young adults committed to social and environmental justice
October 21, 2012 – May 6, 2013
Vancouver, BC


Do you wonder what the future holds for the world? Are you concerned about things like climate change, poverty, public health and education, housing and government policy? Do you believe that global and local issues are connected? Do you feel that our economic system is focused on profit at the expense of people and the planet? Do you believe it is possible for us, as communities, to do things differently at home and abroad, to eradicate poverty, to deal with conflict peacefully, to rise to the climate challenge fairly, and to ensure everyone has access to good public health and education services?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, this program may be for you.

Next Up was created by a community of people who wanted to help emerging leaders (that’s you!) develop new and better skills, smarts and ideas. The program is intense. Over 7 months, we’ll dive into a number of topics and disciplines, combining theory, practice, deep thinking, and hard skills. We’ll look at some of the most pressing Canadian policy issues both foreign and domestic. We will consider where “progressive” thinking is on these issues and how to solve them. We’ll look at how change is made in society. And we’ll meet some of the most innovative change-makers in BC — from the non-profit, labour, business and public sectors — who are working for a better world.

Program information

Who should apply? You are:

  • Aged 18–32
  • Passionate about changing the way the world works, and committed to being active at the centre of social change
  • Certain that there are better ways for us to take care of each other and the planet
  • Willing to take a risk, join a team, and learn more about yourself
  • Someone with leadership qualities (though leadership experience is not necessarily
  • required)

What do we mean by leadership?

Everyone has a different take on the word “leadership.” For us, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a big talker, or that you’re the popular person, or the funniest person, or the person who speaks in public a lot. You may have those qualities — or you may not. Leadership does mean that you think about the world around you and take action to make it a better place.

Who are “we” and why did we create this program?

This is the program's sixth year since it was started in BC, its fourth year in Alberta, and its third year in Saskatchewan. The people organizing it come from a wide range of backgrounds: public policy, community activism, labour, the non-profit sector, and research. We are all involved in social and environmental justice work. We’ve created this program because we believe that a better world is not just possible, but an imperative. We believe that good solutions to the biggest issues are out there, and can be realized. We have different approaches to teaching and learning, but we all believe that a new generation of progressive leaders is needed and should be supported.

Next Up is a partnership between the Global Youth Education Network Society, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Columbia Institute and a number of BC based environmental, labour and civil society organizations.

The Global Youth Education Network Society (genius) is a non-profit organization that works with young people on projects connected to democracy, social and environmental justice and social change leadership. The projects of genius include Get Your Vote On and Next Up.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute focused on social, environmental and economic justice. It is one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates.

The Columbia Institute has a goal to foster inclusive, sustainable communities.

What will I learn?

You’ll learn more about yourself and your values, and about how to turn ideas into action. You’ll be challenged with new ways of thinking, provocative speakers, inspiring mentors and fascinating guests. You’ll discuss solutions to problems like poverty and climate change. You’ll learn skills in areas like media relations, issue framing, project development, fundraising and facilitation. You will meet people working in different areas of public policy and social change. And you’ll connect and work with people in BC doing innovative social and environmental change work. Our goal is to equip you with the skills and tools needed to become an effective leader in movements for social and environmental change.

The sessions will be delivered by the Next Up Coordinator and by guest presenters from the non-profit, labour, public and business sectors.

What level of commitment is required from me, and when?

By joining Next Up you’re committing yourself to an extraordinarily rigorous and exciting program. The program runs from October 21, 2012 to May 6, 2013 and during that time you will:

  • Attend one evening session per week (Monday evenings 6-10pm and the occasional Tuesday)
  • Attend one day-long weekend session per month (Generally Saturdays from 10-4pm)
  • Connect with various community leaders during mutually convenient times
  • Explore and take action on an issue or topic of social change that you’re passionate about

Can I apply if I’m in school or working?

Yes. The program was designed with an understanding that the people in it would have a life: work, school, family and many combinations thereof. That’s why the sessions take place in the evenings and on weekends. Next Up also requires a strong time commitment and you should be thinking about how you will make time for the program should you be accepted.

How much does it cost?

It's free! The cost of the program for participants will be covered entirely by the program (if you live outside Vancouver we may be able to help with travel costs, so please apply). You have to commit time, energy, curiosity and a desire to change the world.

What important dates do I need to know?

  • Friday, September 14 (11:00pm, Pacific Standard Time) Final Application Deadline.
  • Wednesday, September 19 Short-listed applicants will be called for interviews by this date.
  • Sunday, September 23 Short-listed applicants must be available to take part in a group interview process and a one-on-one interview.
  • Tuesday, September 25 Successful applicants will be notified by this date that they have been selected to participate in Next Up.
  • Sunday, October 21 10:00am-4:00pm orientation forfor successful applicants.
  • Monday October 22 Orientation continues 6-10pm

What is the language of learning for the program?

All sessions will take place in English.

Where does the funding come from?

Support for Next Up BC has been provided by:

The Columbia Institute, The BC Teachers’ Federation, The BC Government and Services
Employee’s Union, CUPE BC, Hollyhock, the Health Sciences Association

I have a different question, who can I ask?

Contact Andrea Curtis, BC Regional Coordinator at or 778-549-7874 Check us out online at

That’s it. Happy applicating!

Sincerely, The entire Next Up team

NEXT UP BC Application Form

October 21, 2012 – May 6, 2013 - Vancouver, BC
Thanks for applying to Next Up. We're really looking forward to hearing from you. Please make sure you send in all three parts of the application (see the list below). Applications can be emailed or mailed, and must be received by Friday, September 14, 2012 by 11:00pm, Pacific Standard Time. We will confirm receipt of your application by email.

There are three parts to the application:

  • Your resume. This is a summary of your education, work and volunteer history. It also includes your name, age, mailing address, telephone number and email address.
    It is a maximum of two pages in length.
  • Your answers to the application questions and short creative assignment.
    Please type your questions and answers into a new document (the questions start on the next page). Answers can be submitted in writing OR audio – Choose ONE.
  • References. We'd like three references. These should be from people who know you and want to see you succeed. Please ask one of your references to provide a letter talking about your leadership qualities or potential. For the other two, just include their names and telephone numbers, and a brief explanation of how you know them.

If you are submitting your application electronically:

You can submit your application as either a PDF or as a .doc
  • Please name your resume firstname_lastname.doc or firstname_lastname.pdf
  • Please name the document (text or audio file) containing your application questions and answers firstname_lastname_app.doc or firstname_lastname_app.pdf
  • Please name your references (a single file that includes the letter, plus names and phone numbers of your other two references) firstname_lastname_ref.doc or firstname_lastname_ref.pdf
  • Email your application files to
  • If you are unable to use either of these formats please contact the coordinator.

You can also send us your application by post:

Next Up BC
#1400-207 West Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 8P6

If you are short-listed, you must be available for a group and individual interview on Sunday, September 23, 2012. Successful applicants will find out if they've been accepted to the program by Tuesday, September 25.



Please answer all of these questions: (200 words max per question)

1. Why are you applying to Next Up?
2. Tell us about your work, volunteer, family or community involvement. What is something you've done that you are proud of, and/or think reflects your values and beliefs?
3. Name an issue, cause or situation that is of utmost concern to you, and tell us why.
4. How would you personally contribute to the diversity of Next Up?
5. What are two areas of leadership development that you would like to learn more about.
6. Tell us about a time that you exercised leadership.


Choose any two of the following questions to answer: (200 words max per question)

1. Where or how do you get inspired with new ideas?
2. Is there anybody who has had a particular influence on your way of working and thinking? Who and why?
3. What motivates you to make an extra effort?
4. What's the most provocative or challenging article, book, movie, performance or piece of art you've read or seen – and why?
5. Which political event has made an impression on you during the past year – and why?
6. Name three things that make you happy on an everyday basis and tell us why.
7. How would you define leadership, and what makes a good leader?
8. Where do you see yourself in five years, if your wildest dreams came true?
9. Tell us about an experience you've had of community, and what it meant for you.
10. What's something you've recently learned about yourself? How did you learn it?


Creative Assignment: (300 words maximum)

If you were designing a new project focusing on social justice and/or environmental sustainability, what would you do?
And finally, how did you hear about Next Up?

That's it! Thank you for your participation!

Download this application.