Program Components

Project Sunset Guiding Principles

  • Culture and Tradition
  • Strength-based Approach
  • Experiential Education
  • Engagement with Nature
  • Service Ethic
  • Connection Building: Family, Community and Culture

Project Sunset follows the Project Venture (PV) Curriculum guiding principles. (ref. NIYLP Project Venture Implementation Guide)

The Guiding Principles are the defining characteristics of Project Sunset. These characteristics are present in all components, working together to achieve desired results. The curriculum and deliverables are built on the foundation of these Guiding Principles and implemented throughout a
year-long sequence that builds in intensity and challenge.  While many programs and models utilize variations of these Guiding Principles, the uniqueness and effectiveness of programming is in the combining of these principles within the Project Sunset Components.


Community Service Ethic

Music/Arts & Culture

Police Athletic League (PALS)


Venture In-School

The In-School component of Project Venture is where the facilitator begins to develop a community of learners. Planned in partnership with a classroom educator and school administration, the intentionally designed activities begin the process of:

  • Introducing youth to Project Venture.
  • Group development.
  • Introducing behavioural norms.
  • Increasing social and emotional competency and life skills development.
  • Initial consideration and discussion of potential Service Learning projects.
  • Recruiting youth for year-long programming.

In-School sessions occur more frequently at the beginning of the program and taper off as the Out-of-School sessions begin. The number and length of In-School sessions vary depending on the relationship and access within the school. It is helpful to identify teachers or administrators who are knowledgeable about or interested in experiential education and work with them to provide activities to their entire classes on a regular basis.

A consistently engaging and well developed in-school component serves to introduce youth to the program and encourages them to attend the entire Sunset program.  The in-school component also engages educators in methodologies that have been proven to positively enhance classroom climate and culture.

A skillfully facilitated In-School Component teaches skills that will be utilized and built upon in other components of the Project program. While youth who participate only in the In-School component do benefit significantly, it is through participation in all components of the program that youth receive the full benefit.

IMG_8329After School

In the Out-of-School Component, the intensity and challenge of activities increases. Youth continue to develop as a group and work on behavioural norms while deepening communication skills, problem-solving skills and planning and engaging in Service Learning and cultural activities.

As part of facilitation, planning engages Elders, knowledge keepers and community members to participate in activities. Most Out-of-School activities take place either in the natural world or in the community.

Out-of-School sessions occur at least one afternoon per week with one weekend day per month. Typically sessions can occur before school, after school, on weekend days, holidays and school vacations.

Multi-day trips and treks are well suited for out-of-school programming time. Youth are encouraged and challenged by choice to attend.  While this component reaches a smaller number of youth than In-School, these sessions are longer and more intensive. Buy-in from youth is gradual but facilitators work to support youth at their level of readiness.

Community Service

Service Learning is an experiential approach to education, shaped through relationships.

Service learning projects play an important role in connecting young people to the community, culture and nature and are an integral part of the Project Sunset program sequence because they:

  • Increase the relevancy of education to students.
  • Empower students as learners, teachers, achievers and leaders.
  • Invite students to become contributing members of their own communities.
  • Increase overall awareness of community needs and complex issues that need action.
  • Develop critical thinking skills.
  • Relate to traditional values of generosity.

Service should address a genuine community need, as determined by existing or student-led community assessments. Service are thoughtfully organized to solve, or make a positive contribution toward solving a problem.

In quality service-learning, the service project is designed to meet not only a real community need but also classroom or program goals. By ensuring strong links between the service and the learning, students are able to improve their academic skills and apply what they learn in school to the broader community.

Reflection is a key element of quality service-learning. The service-learning facilitator structures time for students to reflect. Through this process, students come to understand the complexity of community issues and understand how to view such issues in their broader cultural,
social, political and economic contexts.

Project Sunset adheres to the standards developed by the greater service-learning community but emphasizes the role of leadership within the cultural community context of programming. Project Sunset is actively working with our community partners to embed local cultural practices into our programming.

Intentional group development is an important part of the process, the Full Value Commitment is an important tool for teaching about group norms and empowering youth to self manage. The Full Value Commitment expands and grows as the group develops.

The Six Principles of the Full Value Commitment are:

Be Here

Be Safe

Speak Your Truth

Care for Self and Others

Set Goals

Let Go and Move On

IMG_7717Music, Arts & Culture

  • Encompasses a variety of activities that are tied to local culture and spiritual traditions.
  • Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas including language development.
  • Intergenerational community service projects offer elders in the community to serve as advisors and mentors.


  • Police Athletic/Activity League
  • Provides a fun place to play, learn and grow
  • Nurturing a special relationship between trusted adults and students
  • PAL believes young people have individual strengths and capabilities that can guide them to mature, productive adulthood¬†with our encouragement and commitment

Activities are experiential opportunities for young people to expand their horizons and realize their full potential while providing them with a voice and an opportunity to succeed.