SDG Bootcamp 2020

Are you passionate about global issues? Do you want to learn more about community and political engagement, group work, and self-awareness? Do you want a unique experience that challenges your growth, both as an individual and in a team? Are you ready for practical opportunities to develop your changemaking skills – from a community engagement roadtrip, to attending the UN High Level Political Forum in New York? The BC Council for International Cooperation has the perfect opportunity for you: the Sustainable Development Goals Bootcamp!

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Bootcamp is a transformational change course anchored in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provided by the non-profit BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC). The Bootcamp approaches the SDGs as a transformational agenda and seeks to develop participants’ personal, social, and systems skills so that they are able to use the SDGs to support social, economic and environmental change in the world. 

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals, represent the world’s collective vision for achieving a better planet for all by 2030. The SDGs were created by all countries coming together to decide the kind of world they want for themselves and future generations. The Goals provide clear targets and timelines for ending extreme poverty, providing decent work for all, reversing the world’s environmental crises, and promoting equality and social justice. The SDGs provide the “what” and “why” of sustainable development, the Bootcamp is focused on the “how”.

What is Transformational Change?

BCCIC understands transformational change as the alignment and integration of change at the personal, social, and systems levels. It has a strong focus on the inner aspect of change work – our individual and collective selves, identities, personalities, beliefs, patterns, dynamics, values, and deepest motivations – as these are often ignored in traditional change work. By bringing together inner change with outer change we believe there is potential for radical or transformational shifts that can move beyond business as usual trajectories to create situations that are fundamentally different and better for those experiencing them.  In order to do so, the Bootcamp has a strong focus on developing awareness of ourselves, our group dynamics, and our system behaviours and roles.

What is the SDG Bootcamp?

The Bootcamp is a fast-paced and dynamic training program that aims to educate, mentor, and inspire young participants to become active SDG changemakers in their own communities. We are looking for motivated, passionate, and engaged youth who are keen to learn, to practice, and to meet other like-minded people. The main learning opportunities offered by the Bootcamp are:

  • Leveraging the SDGs for transformational change
  • Leadership skills and personal development for changemakers
  • Skills and tools for action on the SDGs
  • Practice opportunities and mentorship

The Bootcamp is not a theoretical course for learning about the SDGs, it is a practice-focused course for working with the SDGs as a framework and communicating them to others in order to promote social change and a sustainable planet. The Bootcamp is not run by lecturers but by non-profit professionals who work with participants in an accompaniment approach, Most training retreats take place as part of actual BCCIC projects and programming, and participants are associated with the organization itself while participating in the Bootcamp. 

The Bootcamp has a strong focus on public engagement and on developing the skills (e.g. public speaking skills) for effective communication and dialogue in order to foster action on the SDGs and SDG-related issues. To learn more about the impact that last year’s Bootcampers had at the United Nations and during and after the Bootcamp, check-out the HLPF 2019 Impact Report

Who are we looking for?

We want young people who are curious and passionate about learning and who wish to work actively in their communities towards achieving the SDGs. As a transformational change course, the SDG Bootcamp requires an interest in exploring the role our inner world plays in our change work – our beliefs, emotions, values, identity, personal patterns and the way show up in groups and in systems. The Bootcamp is ideal for those who have a strong interest in the SDGs and SDG-related issues such as sustainable development, social justice, environmentalism, global citizenship, and community engagement. The Bootcamp is also impact-focused and requires putting what you learn into practice in your own work, initiatives, and lives. For more information on whether you are a good fit for the Bootcamp, check out these testimonials from past Bootcampers.    


To be eligible to apply you:

  • Must be between the ages of 18-24 inclusive
  • Must reside in the province of British Columbia
  • Must commit to participating in at least one self-organized SDG public engagement activity
  • Must commit to attending all three training retreats and the action lab

Program Structure and Overview

The SDG Bootcamp takes place from Feb. 20 to Oct. 31, 2020 and is built around three intensive training retreats and an action lab followed by a final SDG practice phase. The first two in-person trainings and the action lab will take place either on the Sunshine Coast or in Vancouver, and the third retreat takes place in New York while attending the United Nations High Level Political Forum on the SDGs. The Bootcamp is focused on developing the unique personal and professional skills needed to work with the SDGs as a transformative change agenda. It is important to note that the SDG Bootcamp does not focus on studying the SDGs as a subject. Instead, the program focuses on rapidly establishing a basic grasp of where the SDGs come from, what they signify, the opportunities they present for changemakers, and then dives deeply into developing the personal, group, and systems change skills needed to both leverage and advance the SDGs. Each intensive training retreat is focused on learning through practice with the overall goal of developing more effective SDG practitioners

  • Retreat 1 (Feb. 20 – 23) – Self as instrument: Understanding the SDGs as a framework and situating oneself and one’s areas of interest within the SDGs. Exploring the opportunities that the SDG framework present for increasing your own and others impact in the realm of social change and sustainable development. Identifying the personal resources that you want to develop in order to be a more effective SDG change agent. 
  • Retreat 2 (May 1 – May 7) – Collective change: Understanding and working with group dynamics in order to develop highly effective SDG engagement teams. Developing interpersonal and communications skills in order to work with the multiple perspectives and approaches to change what the SDGs embody. Practicing community engagement, public speaking and group facilitation skills. This year’s second retreat will involve a 5 day community engagement roadtrip visiting communities throughout BC to facilitate discussions around the SDGs.
  • Retreat 3 (July 10 – 16)  – Systems change: Understanding how to work as and with systems in order to advance the SDGs. Working both on and as part of a system and dealing with system dynamics and structures e.g. working with gatekeepers, identifying allies, identifying systems change leverage points. This year’s third intensive retreat will involve travelling to the United Nations High Level Political Forum on the SDGs taking place in New York.

SDG Action Lab (Aug. 8) – Following the HLPF, Bootcamp participants will gather in Vancouver for a day long action lab that will involve action planning activities for their self-directed SDG engagement initiatives. The action lab will involve visioning and backcasting activities and will identify milestones and next steps.

Through these three retreats and the action lab, participants will understand how they relate to the SDGs, how to work as a group to engage others on the SDGs, learn what communities think about them, and how to take the insights they have learned into a large scale policy ecosystem in the form of the United Nations’ HLPF. The SDG Bootcamp concludes with a practice phase from Aug. 7 to the end of October where participants will design, lead or support SDG engagement initiatives in their own communities and throughout BC. The minimum time commitment for the course will be approximately 5 hours per week in addition to the retreats and action lab (18 days in total) over the 8 month period.

Key Bootcamp Dates

  • SDG Bootcamp application deadline – January 15 (10pm)
  • Final applicants selected for the SDG Bootcamp and notified – January 24
  • Online Bootcamp orientation call & pre-retreat check-in – Feb 4
  • Intensive Training Retreat 1 – Feb. 20 – 23
  • Mid-retreat online check-in call – March 26
  • Intensive Training Retreat 2 – May 1 – May 7
  • Mid-retreat online check-in call – June 10
  • Mid-retreat online check-in call – June 24
  • Intensive Training Retreat 3 – July 10 – 16
  • Action Lab – August 8
  • Practice phase: Participant led SDG engagement initiatives – August 7 – October 31
  • Bootcamp closing celebration – October 31 


BCCIC is striving to make this program as affordable and accessible as possible. With all costs included, the program is valued at $3000 per participant including travel, food and accommodation costs for retreats in BC as well as travel to New York for the HLPF. While BCCIC is able to cover a substantial portion of these costs, participants who are selected will still need to contribute $1300 to guarantee their enrolment in the Bootcamp. BCCIC will seek funding in order to cover participants who cannot cover the full contribution but priority will be given to applicants that indicate that they are able to cover the $1300 contribution in full. We will do everything we can to accommodate the financial situation of all selected participants. Because some cost recovery is essential to program roll-out, selection priority will be given to qualified applicants whose contributions will allow us to cover the cost of other qualified applicants facing financial barriers. Applicants who are not able to cover the full contribution are welcome to apply and can indicate how much they are able to contribute in the application form. Final payment for attending the SDG Bootcamp must be made by June 28. 

Application and Deadline

The deadline to apply is January 15 @ 10pm.  All successful candidates will be notified by January 24 at the latest.

Please apply by filling out this online form:


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