Young Water Speaks is a national storytelling project and contest.
Youth will get inspired by local waterscapes & history through pre-workshop activities in engaging workbooks & online storytelling workshops led by Waterlution’s trained Youth Advisory Board volunteers. Youth develop stories to be entered into the contest and win amazing regional prizes! Canadian youth that participate in storytelling training workshops & the contest will also be invited to engaging sessions with experienced and emerging storytellers (meet them & learn more about the workshops & contest below).
There are opportunities for individual kids & for classes/youth groups!
School Classes (Teachers) & Youth Clubs
Complete the Storytelling Training (via videos and online workshops)
Submit Your Story
WIN Epic Prizes!
Rapping for Water with Kalvonix!
Students from across the country joined rapper, public speaker, writer and mental health advocate, Kalvonix, as they learned to tell stories through rap and wrote a nation-wide collective water rap.
First Nations Storytelling Event!
Students from across the country joined Grandmother Kim Wheatley, Dr. Shirley Williams and J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth, as they shared inspiring and educating Indigenous water stories.
Water and Poetry with Rosemary Hu!
Students from across the country joined Vancouver based poet and linguist, Rosemary Hu, and they learned to write poetry and write poems around water.
Diverse storytellers are also joining this project to inspire and support your youth in getting creative with their contest entry!
Storytellers will connect with participants via training videos and Canada-wide interactive webinars. The storytellers are training our volunteer Youth Advisors who will deliver your workshop.
Grandmother Kim Wheatley
Calvin 'Kalvonix' Tiu
Rapper, Public Speaker, Writer
& Mental Health Advocate
Aliénor 'Allie' Rougeot
Economics and Public Policy Student, University of Toronto
Rosemary 昕禾 Hu
Local Poet & Linguist
Valérie Ivy Hamelin
Multidisciplinary Artist, Mi’gmak Nation of Gespeg
Writer & Poet
Contest Prizes & Exhibition
Water Speaks Travelling Art Exhibition
Coming July – October 2021
All the winners from the YWS Storytelling Contest and other notable entries, will have their stories shown in a travelling exhibition across Canada.
The exhibition will include indoor and outdoor set ups to be installed for up to 1-month at a time. YAB members in the areas will also lead a special event, such as a local river stories walk, during the exhibition period.
$100 gift card to be spent at United by Blue
Lush gift packs of body soaps and creams
More prizes will be announced soon
If you/your organization is interested in hosting the exhibition, contact Laina Timberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you book an online workshop with a volunteer Youth Advisor via our website, you’ll gain access to Waterlution’s google classroom with pre-workshop activities & original training videos from the storytellers & volunteers. There will be pre-workshop activities to complete.
Click here to meet the volunteers who will deliver your online workshop!
The workshop will be 1.5 hours for grades 3-8 and 2.5 hours for grades 9-12. Workshops are designed appropriately for different age groups.
During the workshop, students learn to generate ideas inspired by water, create a main character, choose a creative storytelling avenue, and create their storyboard.
After the workshop, students will have one month to create and submit their stories.
Story formats can be a creatively written story, an oral story, a short film, a painting, a sculpture, a dance, a song or another creative method.
All participating groups/classes will be invited to also join special interactive webinars hosted by our expert storytellers (happening about once every six weeks!)
Curriculum Links: This contest is aligned with curriculum across provinces and territories. It works particularly well with, Social Studies, Language Arts, Earth Sciences, Visual Arts & more! You’ll receive access to the curriculum links documents once you register.
All workshops are free and there is no cost to submit stories to the contest at the end – expect for postage if you are submitting via mail instead of google classroom.
Evaluation Process: stories can be fiction, nonfiction or a combination of the two! They must be centred around water and inspired by a real Canadian waterway. Extra points if your story is also inspired by your family’s culture or a real event in Canadian history.
Winners will be announced in April 2021.
Prizes are awarded within 4 different regions in Canada. Within each region, a separate prize is awarded for different age groups: 7-10, 11-13 and 14-18. A total of 12 prizes will be awarded in March 2021.
Beyond Prizes–A Traveling Storytelling Exhibit is set to travel across the country in Autumn 2021, winning stories and other lucky submissions will be featured in a travelling storytelling exhibit alongside stories and creations from emerging Canadian storytellers, artists & musicians!
Examples of Water Stories Created by Waterlution Staff & Youth Advisors
Actua, Alberta Lake Management Society, Anishinabek Nation, Cariboo Regional Library – Williams Lake Branch, Ecology North, Educational News CAN, Environnement Jeunesse, Fredericton Arts Alliance, Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Center Edmonton, Inside Education, Lesser Slave Watershed Council, Milk River Watershed Council, Red Deer River Watershed, Safe Drinking Water Foundation, Shaw Centre for Salish Sea,Stephen Leacock Foundation, Sustainable Youth Canada (Montreal), World Youth Parliament for Water, & Youth Fusion
COVID-19 Adaptation Update
January 21st, 2021 – All Training/Workshops will be hosted via online video conference until at least April 15th, 2021. The next COVID-19 adaptation update will be released on March 31st, 2021.