Power of Hope was founded in 1996 by Charlie Murphy and Peggy Taylor. The first Canadian camp was on Cortes Island in 1997. Over the last twenty years we’ve had many incredible board members who bring with them backgrounds in youth work, empowerment and leadership training, business skills and big hearts. We are so grateful for their guiding wisdom behind the scenes.

Current staff

Sarah Downey – Executive Director

Sarah has a twenty year history of developing, supporting, advising and managing – charities, non-profit societies and co-operative organizations. Sarah holds a BA Honours Degree in Indigenous Studies and Fine Arts and has an extensive background in youth work. Sarah has been a Power of Hope facilitator for over ten years, and also a camp manager for many years. She brings with her a wide range of skills and passions that are a perfect fit for our vision. Some of her key interests are creating a more cohesive community for PoH youth and facilitators, expanding our circles of support, and partnering with like-minded organizations. Sarah lives in Victoria BC and is the mother of two teenagers.


Emily Coldwell – Administration

Emily is a previous Power of Hope youth, and has since been an arts facilitator for over five years, and stepped into the role of camp manager in 2015. Passionate about creating music, writing, and self-discovery through the arts, Emily brings a deep passion for youth work and a balanced perspective to the organization. Emily is a Jane of all trades, taking on our bookkeeping, being a point person for anyone hoping to attend camps, and helping in program management.




Current board members

Johanna Robertson – Chair

Johanna is a Power of Hope Canada Alumni and a strong advocate for community-based youth empowerment through the arts. She lives in East Vancouver, sharing a neighbourhood with many program facilitators & staff. She is working with a Canadian software company to empower patients through specialist care and designs textiles on the side. Johanna has a hunger to make the world a better place by engaging youth — a mission inspired by her experience in the Power of Hope summer camps. Her time at PoH also gave her a deep love of group singing & gumboot dancing.


Bill Weaver – Vice Chair

For four decades, Bill has produced, written, directed, shot, and edited films that touch hearts and build bridges of understanding. He uses that experience to create and co-create projects that trigger conversation, raise funds, and promote the missions of values-based businesses and social profit organizations. He is founder and co-facilitator of Media that Matters, a yearly conference and initiative dedicated to sparking new ideas, broadening collective wisdom, and building a stronger, smarter community among media professionals from all disciplines of conventional and unconventional media.  He is also an advisory board member for the Reel Youth Film Festival.

Colleen McCormick

Colleen McCormickColleen McCormick manages the social innovation file in the Ministry of Social Development. Her focus is to maximize social innovation in BC. She is engaged with the BC Partners for Social Impact and the Assistant Deputy Minister’s Committee for Non-Profit Partnerships, and was responsible for organizing the Premier’s Non-Profit Partnerships Social Innovation Summit. Colleen is also the National Chair of the New Professionals for the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, founder of Social Innovators Network nonprofit, and TEDxMileZero organizer. She has an MBA from Royal Roads University and is currently taking the Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo.

Caroline Weatherhead

Founder of Gatherings Co., Caroline has set the stage for many visionary humans over her 20+ years managing events. Focusing on education, community development and the arts Caroline nurtures positive, productive relationships both within her event teams and with organizational partners.

As a seasoned event manager, Caroline has conceptualized, planned and overseen the onsite execution of events such as corporate conferences, non-profit fundraisers, university-continuing education programs, trade shows, and festivals.

Gathering with clear intention results in huge capacity for connection and shifts towards our shared visions. Caroline continues to be inspired by the possibilities when we bump into each other’s edges and find new growth in the spaces created between.

Vanessa LeBourdais

Vanessa LeBourdais is an artist, producer, writer and director with the charity she founded and leads, DreamRider Productions. DreamRider ‘trains superheroes of environmental protection’ through fun and engaging live theatre and interactive digital programs that have reached over 1 million kids across Canada and now in India and the U.S. Vanessa is lucky enough to spend her days dreaming up silliness, collaborating with awesome artists, and seeing her work go around the world. Hobbies include hiking, painting, boating. She also spends a lot of time talking about race in a large Facebook group she moderates, Nonprofit Happy Hour. She also was an organizer and chief songwriter for the biggest civil disobedience action in Canadian history, in Clayoquot Sound, BC.





Charlie Murphy


Charlie Murphy (CEO and Co-Founder of PYE Global) is renowned for his group facilitation and program design work integrating the arts into youth development. He is an award-winning singer/songwriter with over 30 years experience in the field of experiential learning. In the 90’s Charlie served as national director of training for the YMCA Earth Service Corps, a youth environmental organization. In 2005 he received an Ashoka Fellowship in recognition of his life-long achievements as a change maker and for his work with the Power of Hope program.  Charlie leads PYE’s international efforts to train and support organizations and individuals in the Creative Community Model, and to strengthen the field of practice around transformative youth work.

Peggy Taylor


Peggy Taylor (Director of Training and Co-Founder of PYE Global) is a writer, musician, and creative development specialist with a Masters of Education in Creative Arts in Learning from Lesley University in Cambridge MA, USA. She has over 30 years experience working in the fields of group facilitation and experiential learning. She is co-author of Chop Wood, Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life, which has sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. Peggy is on the board of Hollyhock, a learning center/retreat on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.  She leads PYE’s advanced level training, the Heart of Facilitation.  More recently, Peggy co-founded Young Women Empowered, a leadership program for teen women in the Seattle area that is being incubated by PYE.