Nature Creates Strength: Justin Young

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Hidden in a quiet cove on British Columbia's Pender Island, YouLEAD Advisor Justin Young reflects on his connection with nature and the strength that it brings to his life.


This picture has so much meaning for me. I made this at the Journey Course this weekend where the Facilitators invited us to head into nature and create something that spoke to the strength we bring to the group and to the world. 

I found a nice place to sit and create this. The scattered pieces of shells represents my life before healing. I was a scattered broken hearted little guy with so much hurt and pain from my life. I was lost, beaten and addicted. I was living with shame and guilt. I was broken. 

Through healing and taking responsibility for my life, I found the courage to rebuild my heart. I put the pieces back together again. I found help and support. I learned to create value. I forgave and learned to love what I have grown through. 

The gift of the word "love" was added by a fellow participant. He later told me that he had added this because I was being very kind and including him. I was being respectful, inviting and fun to help him feel welcomed into our group, so he wrote the word "love" out of rocks after I left to let the Facilatators know I was done my piece. 

We were then invited to present our creative pieces to our group. When it came time to do mine, I was surprised to see the word "love" written in stones by the young man I had been hanging out with. To me, this meant that I was living my life with purpose and doing my best to share my kindness towards this young fellow. 

I have grown into a truly loving, giving, and supportive man. The man I wished I had in my life growing up. But, I am him today. 




This activity was part of the Journey, a 4-day YouLEAD certificate course focused on deepening one’s ability to be a reflective practitioner. It was facilitated by IICRD's Michele Cook and Micheal Montgomery on Pender Island, British Columbia between June 23-26, 2016.

YouLEAD encourages young people and practitioners to become leaders that question how they think, learn, frame, and lead in their work to support the well-being of children and youth and their families and communities.  

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