Young Conservation Professionals Leadership Program

We are now accepting applications for the 2023 Young Conservation Professionals program!

Please download a copy of the application form and complete all fields. Once you are ready to submit your application, update the file name with your name and email the pdf to

The application deadline is February 6, 2023.


The Young Conservation Professionals (YCP) Leadership Program is a year-long personal and professional development program serving the conservation and environmental sector in Ontario.

The purpose of the YCP Leadership Program is to build capacity in the conservation sector by helping the next generation of leaders to step up.

Program participants will gain:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of leadership and management practice
  • Deepened understanding of individual leadership styles and innate strengths as managers and leaders
  • Improved interpersonal communication skills
  • Improved ability to set effective, outcome-focused goals
  • Enhanced confidence to lead in both personal and professional contexts
  • Increased motivation and ability to manage teams and complex projects

Launched in 2005, the YCP Leadership Program has a network of more than 220 alumni across the province and beyond.

Young Conservation Professionals program alumni


The Young Conservation Professionals Leadership Program takes place over the course of one calendar year and requires a total on-site time commitment of approximately nine days. This includes:

  • Three residential retreats (three days, two nights) focused on personal and professional leadership development
  • A minimum of four (maximum of six) workshops throughout the year focused on key management skills

Program fees include all retreat costs and workshops:

  • Public and private sector: $1,525/person
  • Non-profit: $810/person


Three residential retreats are the core of YCP Leadership Program. Participants are immersed in a collaborative professional learning environment focused on a theme, with individual, small group and whole-group activities and projects.

Residential retreats take place at Albion Hills Field Centre in Caledon, Ontario.

Young Conservation Professionals residential retreat at Albion Hills Field Centre

Retreat activities include:

  • Group-building exercises
  • Self-assessment
  • Instructional sessions on leadership
  • Peer learning
  • Action-reflection learning
  • Learning in small groups
  • Journal-writing
  • Coaching
  • Learning rooted in individual and group projects

Each retreat closes with goal-setting and take-home exercises designed to help participants apply their learning both in the workplace and in everyday life.

Retreat 1 (Winter 2023): Leader as Learner


  • March 8-10, 2023


  • What is leadership?
  • Self-assessment
  • Sharpening the saw


  • Increased understanding of individual leadership style(s) and innate strengths
  • Enhanced ability to practice deliberate, ongoing self-assessment
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of leadership and management practice


  • Personal and Professional Visioning
  • Coffee-break Challenge

Young Conservation Professionals program participants at winter retreat

Retreat 2 (Spring/Summer 2023): Leader as Partner


  • June 7-9, 2023


  • Situational leadership
  • Collaboration and partnership


  • Increased knowledge of practical techniques for leading through partnership
  • Enhanced ability to plan projects and appreciation of the connections between vision, goals, action and context
  • Improved interpersonal communication skills


  • Organizational challenge

Young Conservation Professionals leadership program summer retreat at Albion Hills Field Centre

Retreat 3 (Fall 2023): Leader as Catalyst


  • November 1-3, 2023


  • Mapping the future
  • Goal setting


  • Improved ability to set effective, outcome-focused goals
  • Enhanced confidence to lead in both personal and professional contexts
  • Increased motivation and ability to manage teams and complex projects


  • Leadership plan of action

Young Conservation Professionals leadership program fall retreat at Albion Hills Field Centre

About Albion Hills Field Centre

Albion Hills Field Centre is a spacious, welcoming, chalet-style building of cedar and granite, located in Albion Hills Conservation Park in Caledon, Ontario.

The landscape of Albion Hill lies within the Humber Headwaters region, part of the environmentally significant Oak Ridges Moraine.

YCP participants will stay in climate-controlled dormitories with newly renovated washrooms and shared rooms with bunk beds.

Albion Hills has a fully staffed commercial kitchen offering home-style meals, with alternatives for almost all dietary restrictions.



2023 workshop dates to be announced.

The Young Conservation Professionals Leadership Program offers up to six training workshops; participants are required to attend at least four.

The workshops teach the basics of practical, management-related skills, and may include:

  • Facilitation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Proposal development
  • Budgeting
  • Financial management
  • Goal-setting and strategy
  • Policy development
  • Collaboration
  • Communication and public speaking

Workshops are held virtually and at locations in the Greater Toronto Area, with the support of host organizations such as the University of Guelph.

Young Conservation Professionals program workshop

Certificate of Completion

The Young Conservation Professionals Leadership Program is a continuing education program offered through Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and University of Guelph. A Certificate of Completion is awarded upon successful graduation from the program.


Young Conservation Professionals (YCP)

2023 Alumni Conference:
Reconnecting and Reimagining Leadership

Friday February 10, 2023 – 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday February 11, 2023 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Albion Hills Field Centre
16500 Regional Rd 50, Caledon ON L7E 3E7

We invite you to be part of the first-ever YCP Alumni Conference in 2023! Reconnect with YCP leaders, alumni, and partners to reflect on the significant work accomplished throughout 15 years of empowering emerging professionals.

Drawing from a network of more than 250 conservation leaders, the YCP Alumni Conference will host workshops and offer opportunities to look ahead and reimagine the future of conservation.

Through interactive presentations, fireside chats, and virtual workshops, the following themes will be explored within the context of the conservation sector:

  • Theme 1: Reimagining Leadership & Strategy
  • Theme 2: Reimagining Collaboration & Partnerships
  • Theme 3: Reimagining Professional Development & Career Growth
  • Theme 4: Reimagining How & Why We Work

Interested in Attending the YCP Alumni Conference?

Conference participants can attend one or both days of the conference. A limited number of overnight accommodations at the Albion Hills Field Centre are available.

Proceeds from the event will go towards a YCP Scholarship Fund to support future YCP leaders!


Friday February 10 onlyFREE BOOK NOW
Saturday February 11 only$80 BOOK NOW
Friday February 10 & Saturday February 11WITHOUT overnight accommodations: $80 BOOK NOW
Friday February 10 & Saturday February 11WITH overnight accommodations: $120 BOOK NOW


Friday February 10, 2023
7:00–8:00 p.m. Arrival and Check-in at Albion Hills Field Centre
8:00–9:00 p.m. Fireside Chat & Refreshments
9:00 p.m. onwards Campfire, Networking & Social Time
Saturday February 11, 2023
8:30–9:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
9:30–10:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker
10:00–11:00 a.m. Session 1 – Theme: Reimagining Leadership & Strategy
11:00–11:15 a.m. Break & Leave Your Mark
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Session 2 – Theme: Reimagining Collaboration & Partnerships
12:15-1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00-2:00 p.m. Session 3 – Theme: Reimagining Professional Development & Career Growth
2:00-2:15 p.m. Break & Leave Your Mark
2:15-3:15 p.m. Session 4 – Theme: Reimagining How & Why We Work
3:15-3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks
3:30-4:30 p.m. Networking & Outdoor Activity

Interested in Presenting at the YCP Alumni Conference?

Alumni of the YCP program and affiliates are welcome to attend the Alumni Conference as a participant or presenter. Multiple presentation formats are available: Workshop Presentations, Virtual Presentations, and Fireside Chat Session.

Accepted presenters registered for the conference will receive a discounted rate.



We welcome correspondence from alumni, managers, prospective participants, and other friends and supporters of the program.

Please direct all and correspondence to:

We look forward to hearing from you!

Young Conservation Professionals Leadership program participants walk trail at Albion Hills Field Centre

Thank You to Our Funders and Supporters:

A.D. Latornell Endowment Fund
University of Guelph | Latornell Conservation Symposium