Civics Boot Camp

2024 Civics Boot Camp was a huge success!

The 2024 Civics Boot Camp took place from the end of January until early March earlier this year. We were excited to offer the program again to residents of Ottawa after a four year hiatus. We hosted a fantastic cohort of eager and engaged CityMakers. During the six week program we focused on vital skills such as civic navigation, advocacy and engagement, placemaking, messaging, funding and so much more. Our participants worked with one of several community partners on vital case studies that provided value to local programs and initiatives.

Check out pictures from the 2024 Boot Camp here and be sure to check out the video from the Graduation event at the button below. Stay tuned to our social media and newsletter for updates on future Boot Camps coming soon. 

Building Community

About Civics Boot Camp

Civics Boot Camp is an interactive and experiential six-week learning opportunity for citizens of all walks of life.

Participants come together to explore crucial issues with a municipal lens, working to understand where the City spends money, how cities and communities are built, and how to engage others in city-making actions.

Boot Camp students gain important skills such as city making, civic navigation, city building, budgeting, governance and more.

6 week learning opportunity

engage in city-making actions

Peer Sharing & Networking

Boot Camp Feedback

There are things I feel should be changed, and I want to have my voice heard. I figure if I can learn the system, I can make changes within the system. In these sessions I was shown that you can make a difference, no matter where you live, or how much you have. If you have the passion and the drive, and find the knowledge you need, you can really make that change. It was very inspiring!

Kelsey Boggis Da Silva

Civics Boot Camp 2013

Synapcity is an organization of people builders. They ensure that all the voices of our city are heard. They push a group to a place that they didn’t think that they could go, and are masters of finding the way through. They were essential in helping us figure out what we wanted to do with the Wevolution and changed the outcome of our strategic vision profoundly!

Nathalie Carrier

Executive Director, Vanier BIA

I now know where and when to access information and/or people at City Hall. Plus, I now have access to a rich and varied network of friends upon whom I can call for various questions. It's the whole 'connectedness' piece that is so very invaluable.It’s like a spark that keeps our motivation high.

Boot Camp Graduate

It is with Citizens Academy that I was inspired to start an initiative, Y2Y! where the youth help one another find jobs.

Gowoon Lee


Before Synapcity, I’d never imagined reaching out to a politician. Throughout Boot Camp, we realized ‘wow, we can speak to these people’ – and more than that, Synapcity gave us the tools to use when we do speak to them.

Caroline W.

Civics Boot Camp alumna

Synapcity came into our city and transformed it. They have changed how we can inform our communities, how we can be a positive change and how we can exchange the knowledge and involve our community members in urban and rural areas.

Mathieu Fleury

Ottawa City Councillor

Citizens Academy provided me with additional motivation to run for City Council. Seeing and meeting so many engaged citizens gave me further inspiration to take a bold step myself. I also appreciated the direct advice we received from sitting and former councillors who came in as guest contributors.

Jevone Nicholas

candidate for Ottawa City Council

Synapcity’s mission to enable citizens to improve their city is a lofty goal, but an achievable one. If I were to try and describe it in venture capital terms, it acts as both an incubator and an accelerator. It lets new growth and ideas develop, while it amplifies existing initiatives across the city. I’d go so far as to argue, Synapcity is a damn good investment opportunity.

Civics Boot Camp


The most important thing I learned from the Boot Camp is there are a lot of really smart, energetic, dedicated people across the city that are looking to make their communities a better place to live for everyone.

Yancy Craig

Boot Camp Alumnus

I learned about the issues that Ottawa faces as a city, and how I can better engage as a citizen to solve them. This boot camp is a chance for anyone who wants to learn about the City of Ottawa, how municipal government works and how citizens can effectively make a difference in the city.

Efrem Berhe

Boot Camp Alumnus

Whether you are authoring a handwritten letter to your local councillor or starting a new social media campaign with like-minded advocates, the Citizens Academy's diverse and whole-of-community approach to collaborative engagement has brought city and citizen closer than ever before.

Mitchell E. Kutney


Synapcity’s Civics Boot Camp previously ran from 2015 to 2020. Over 10 boot camps have been completed, with over 400 CityMaker alumni; these CityMakers have gone on to launch local initiatives, run and win municipal elections, work at community associations and BIAs, and more.

The Case Studies
Get to contribute for real

A key component of Civics Boot Camp are the case studies. Working with partner organizations, boot camp participants get hands-on experience designing a project for social good. These projects are key to the city’s ecosystem and we leverage strong partners who have deep community ties and represent a broad range of diversity.

Past studies have aided community associations and BIAs directly, helped imagine a growing Ottawa, examined Ottawa’s nightlife, worked for community food security, reimagined an Ottawa street, dealt with revitalization vs gentrification, examined safe injection sites and much more.

Over 400 Civics Boot Camp Alumni


feel more confident and empowered *


of participants plan to start a new initiative *

*Civics Boot Camp Participant Survey

Community Impact Report

Community Impact Report

GottaGo Campaign

Joan Kuyek, Shawn Walker and Mariane Eriksson participated in Synapcity’s Civics Boot Camp in 2013 and started the GottaGo! Campaign.  This aims to create a network of safe, accessible, free, clean and environmentally responsible public toilets and water fountains in parks, major transit stops and key public places in Ottawa.


BeetBox Farm

Jeremy Colbeck is a Synapcity alumni, having joined our 2016 Civics Boot Camp. Since then, he has gone on to relaunch BeetBox Co-Operative Farm with David Mazur-Goulet and Lise-Anne Léveillé. Beetbox is a workers’ cooperative using sustainable farming practices to grow wholesome and organic vegetables. As of next year, their produce will be available exclusively through a weekly vegetable box program (CSA).

Lending Library

In 2014, Maria Gomez Umana graduated from the Synapcity Civics Boot Camp. She wanted to develop a stronger sense of community in her Kanata Lakes neighbourhood. Drawing on her passion for literature and culture, she decided to build a miniature library to put in front of her house. Now the library is a real neighbourhood hub.

Our Alumni in the Community

Many amazing Ottawa social innovation initiatives started right here at Synapcity.

Scroll to see a few Alumni projects.

Case Studies

Case Studies are a vital component of our Civics Boot Camp. Participants get to work hand in hand with partner organizations that support community building initiatives. We are always interested in learning about new organizations so if you work for an Ottawa based organization that is creating change in the city, we want to hear from you. Email us at to let us know what you’re up to.

We seek organizations that have projects and initiatives that foster collective good.

Apply For Boot Camp

Applications for the 2024 Civics Boot Camp have closed. Thanks to everyone who applied. Please stay tuned for information on future Civics Boot Camp programs coming soon. 

1. Apply

Submit your name by filling the form below

2. Acceptance

Wait for our response – spots are limited!

3. Take Part

If accepted, take part in the six 3-hour evening sessions and participate actively!