45 years of community service, experiential learning, and discovery
The Katimavik National Experience challenges young people in Canada with a transformative experience to empower them to become:
- Supporters of Truth and Reconciliation across Canada;
- Contributors to an eco-friendly and sustainable world;
- Advocates for inclusiveness and diversity; and
- Confident change-makers working towards a better Canada.
Join the Katimavik National Experience and start your challenge of serving communities to build a better Canada
Tell me more about the program
This fully-immersive 5.5 month program brings together 11 young adults who share and manage a Katimavik house while living in two different communities. The group will be accompanied by a Project Leader, who resides in the house to mentor the life-changing experience.
The Katimavik National Experience challenges youth to make a positive impact in each of the communities while also developing a vast set of skills and competencies. Throughout the 5.5 months, participants are very busy and can expect to participate fully in the following:
- Volunteering 30 hours a week at local non-profit organizations;
- Learning about Indigenous peoples in Canada and engaging in meaningful truth and reconciliation initiatives;
- Team building and collaboration;
- Designing and implementing community projects;
- Managing all aspects of the Katimavik house, including daily meal preparation;
- Plan cultural discovery, group outings and fun activities during evenings and weekends.
“Katimavik is an opportunity to travel and get to know people from all over Canada, better understand culture in a way you will never understand from textbooks or tourist sites.” – Athena Vu, Ontario.
Where Katimavik houses are located?
Katimavik Participants are currently making a difference in the following communities across Canada :
- Nanaimo, BC
- Calgary, AB
- Wetaskiwin, AB
- Brandon, MB
- Winnipeg, MB
- Sudbury, ON
- Quebec City, QC
- Saguenay, QC
- Halifax, NS
Why National Experience is a transformative exercise?
The success of the program is based on working together and supporting each other as a team. Participants are together, they volunteer, live and learn together. Through exchange and discussions, participants learn from each other, explore problem solving, and provide a supportive environment where everyone is accepted and valued.
The Project Leader, Katimavik team and the community partners ensure that each participant is provided with the opportunities they need to have a positive and empowering experience. Support is provided throughout the experience by the Project Leader and all Katimavik staff.
Please see the image below as an example of your weekly schedule. Please note that this is just an example and that weekly schedules may vary depending on house location, availability of mentors, etc.
Is Katimavik the right fit for me?
Before you apply, consider asking the following to determine if the Katimavik National Experience is a good fit for you. Are you:
- 17 – 25 years old?
- A resident or citizen of Canada?
- Motivated to learn new skills?
- Ready to meet the challenges of group living be a team player?
- Prepared to volunteer and participate in group activities?
- Feel able to fully commit to an immersive full-time program and be willing to work on your self-autonomy?
The National Experience is open to all youth aged 17-25 years old. Participants must be a Canadian citizen or be able to demonstrate that they are legally residing in Canada.
Katimavik is committed to providing an inclusive, diverse, respectful environment and encourages applications from young adults of all backgrounds, genders, religions, and cultures.
The National Experience aims to prepare youth for future employment opportunities and/or post-secondary learning. Previous work experience or studies is not required.
Katimavik National Experience is challenging and dynamic; no one day was the same as the next. I was challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally in ways I could not have imagined before taking part in the program myself. I was able to see more of my home country than I ever had before through educational and breathtaking experiences. Katimavik also allowed me to connect with people from across the country and from all walks of life that I never would have otherwise met if not for this program.
Johannah Brockie, Katimavik alumna
Opportunities to learn and grow
Katimavik Participants will have the opportunity to learn about many topics and to gain various new skills. This is done through experiential learning, group discussions, fun activities, workshops, and more. The program’s educational aspect is fundamental and all participants are expected to play an active role in the learning process.
Some of the topics and skills that you will be challenged to learn about include:
- The history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the importance of Truth and Reconciliation;
- The benefits and impact of civic engagement;
- Professional work skills in a variety of sectors, depending on volunteer placements;
- Cooking skills, house maintenance, and practical life skills;
- Conflict resolution, communication, and how to strive within a team environment;
- Environmental protection and sustainable development;
- English or French as an additional language;
- Leadership, advocacy, and project management skills;
- Canada’s cultural, geographic, and linguistic diversity.
How is the program funded and how much does it cost?
Katimavik is grateful for funding provided by the Government of Canada through its Canada Service Corps initiative.
All expenses related to participation in the program are covered, including transportation to and from the communities, group activities, housing, and meals.
Participants fundraise prior to the program start date in order to contribute to the costs of their participation. Recognizing that this can be a barrier for some young people in Canada, Katimavik will provide tools and resources to assist with fundraising efforts.
In order to ensure that this opportunity is available to all youth across Canada, Katimavik will work on an individual basis with anyone who may feel that the fundraising is a barrier to their participation.
Katimavik group working to build the replica of Fort Gibraltar trading posts, originally constructed at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in 1809-10. Replica spot was rebuilt in the neighbourhood of Saint-Boniface in early 1990s with the help of Katimavik Participants.
About our response to the pandemic
1. Will the program still take place, despite coronavirus restrictions?
Yes! Charities and non-profits need the help of volunteers now more than ever. It is undeniable that these are challenging times for everyone. The good news is that YOU can still make a difference! Joining our program means participating in an educational and meaningful experience while proactively helping communities face the challenges of the pandemic.
2. Will the volunteer placements still be in person?
Mostly. Part of what makes the National Experience so special is its fully immersive aspect. For this reason, we prefer on-site assignments. However, to adapt to the current reality, part of the work may be done online to address the needs and characteristics of each placement.
3. Am I at risk of contracting the coronavirus by participating? How will you ensure the safety of participants during the National Experience?
Yes, volunteering comes with risks and we do not take this fact lightly. The National Experience is a community service learning program and as such you and/or members of your group will be engaging in frontline work. All our partners will follow the best practices of COVID-19 safety procedures, such as providing masks, other protective equipment, and social distancing. Moreover, as part of your orientation your group will create a group contract for communal living, which will include COVID-19 safety procedures. We all have different comfort-levels and risk-appetites, as well as our individual physical and mental health needs so reflect on whether this is the right time for you to be taking part in the National Experience. If you have concerns or questions about this, please make sure to discuss these with the Katimavik office. We recognize the immeasurable value of our volunteers, and your safety is our top priority. We will do everything we can to make the Katimavik Experience a memorable one.
4. What will a typical placement look like?
Every Katimavik experience is unique! Here is a sneak peek of what your day-to-day might look like:
- Answering COVID-19 response needs, for example, putting together meal packages for people in need or delivering groceries to seniors in lockdown.
- Environmental initiatives such as park clean ups or working in community gardens.
- Communications work (public relations, fundraising, promotional activities).
- Manual labour, for example sorting clothes, renovations, maintenance.
- Office work which could include receptionist or administrative duties.
- Assistance or counselling to specific groups or individuals.
5. What support is in place for me during the National Experience?
The National Experience is an immersive full-time program during which you will be guided by a Project Leader. However, Katimavik’s National Experience is a personal development program and Participants are expected to be autonomous, without reliance on the Project Leader to meet personal needs. As part of the onboarding process, a medical disclosure form will be completed and accommodations will be made where possible, but please bear in mind that the National Experience is not a care program. Because Katimavik proposes a different way of socializing and interacting, we have chosen, as a general principle, for the National Experience houses across Canada to be dry houses. This means that it is prohibited to consume intoxicants in the house and anywhere else on the property. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please reach out to the Katimavik office.