The 2019 students and mentors at the Eco Dfndrs summer camp on Denman Island where youth aged 12 to 15 shoot video projects about the environment and climate change. (Eco Dfndrs Photo)

The 2019 students and mentors at the Eco Dfndrs summer camp on Denman Island where youth aged 12 to 15 shoot video projects about the environment and climate change. (Eco Dfndrs Photo)

Eco Dfndrs summer camp wraps up third season

Oak Bay funder helped design eco-conscious film camp

For the third year a group of 20 teens from across Western Canada gathered on Denman Island for an eight-day summer camp last month.

It’s a summer camp unlike most.

They are the Eco Dfndrs and their mission is to save the world, starting with a new skill set in filmmaking.

It’s run through a partnership of Saanich filmmaker Hilary Pryor and funder Philippa Steele, who grew up in Oak Bay and now splits her time between Fairfield and England.

The Eco Dfndrs campers are youth between the ages of 12 and 15. They are split into small groups, each led by a professional filmmaker. They then storyboard, script, shoot and edit a music video, drama, or documentary that discusses the messages they’d like to communicate about the environment, said Pryor, whose company May Street Productions lists Moosemeat & Marmalade among its many projects.

“It’s truly successful in that their confidence grows, they build friendships, and they come together to figure out how to make this world a better place,” Pryor said.

Youth do not pay for the camp.

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Usually the campers choose to focus on something about the climate change threat, and all are very concerned. “It’s those concerns that we want to support,” Pryor said.

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Daryl Whetung is on the Dfndrs board of directors and is a local filmmaker who leads a group each year.

“Kids these days are so educated with global issues, especially the environment, it’s a blessing to teach these kids the craft of film and learn from them their hope for the future,” he said.

On the seventh day of camp the students screen their rough cuts and are then encouraged to continue working on the project, and starting new projects, post camp. This year the campers came from as far as Calgary, Tofino, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Victoria. Previous campers include Oak Bay residents.

For more information visit ecodfndrs.ca.

reporter@oakbaynews.com