The Cool Aunt – PLT Canada contest winner thanks his #MyGreenMentor

January 15, 2020

Kevin Southgate as a youth jumping ecstatically in the forest with his aunt in the background

Kevin Southgate, PLT Canada contest winner, and his aunt, Ingrid, playing outdoors in the early 2000s.

How many of us love nature because of a family member? Just ask Kevin Southgate, PLT Canada’s most recent contest winner. “I love nature because of my aunt. When I saw the #MyGreenMentor contest, I immediately thought of her,” shares Kevin, a current Childhood and Social Institutions student at Kings University in London, Ontario.

Kevin wearing a hoodie and smiling for the camera in front of some trees during winter

Kevin Southgate, winner of PLT Canada’s #MyGreenMentor contest.

“Ever since I can remember, my aunt would take me on outdoor adventures. We would visit parks, kayak, see animals and go camping. She is kind of the stereotypical ‘cool aunt’. She is a huge reason why I love nature,” Kevin recounts.  

PLT Canada’s #MyGreenMentor contest invited youth across Canada to thank their mentor through social media. We received many stories in response from people thanking their professors, employers, and family members. It was clear that mentors played a key role in inspiring our contest participants to pursue a green career or educational path and helped to plant the seed of interest in the outdoors for them.

screenshot of Kevin's instagram post that features himself and his Aunt cycling together on a dirt road.

The #MyGreenMentor winning post that Kevin shared on Instagram.

When Kevin graduates, he hopes to continue his education by applying to social work programs to get a Master of Social Work.  

“I’ve always loved to help people, and it is interesting how nature connects with social work. For example, social work looks at the entire environment of a person, and we know that green spaces help with people’s mental health.”

Previously, Kevin has also been able to work a green job at a children’s summer camp. “I loved working at summer camp. You see how much fun kids have playing outdoors. It makes a difference when children get to spend time in nature.”

Kevin’s advice to youth interested in a similar career path is to volunteer. “It’s really helpful to see what you like. Volunteering in a wide variety of options can help you determine your career path. Don’t be afraid of taking every opportunity to try something new.”

Thanks to his aunt, Kevin developed a passion that led him to explore interesting options at school, which will hopefully lead to a fulfilling career. “There are so many things I love about my aunt, such as her love of animals and of nature. She has profoundly impacted my life.”

Everyone can benefit from having a mentor – someone who can help guide you and help you discover new abilities and interests. Interested in getting a mentor or being a mentor? See PLT Canada’s Green Mentor Program for more info.

Ps. Don’t forget to thank your mentor next time you see them!


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