Métis students embrace their culture and heritage

The 2015 MNO Infinite Reach March Break Camp


View this video of the 2015 MNO Infinite Reach March Break Camp.

March Break Camp 2015
The 2015 MNO Infinite Reach March Break Camp participants with
MNO staff and volunteers. (Left to right) Back row: Joel Camilleri;
Kevin Watson Jean-Luc Harrisson; Gabe Picard; Rebekah Trudel;
Melina Mandoshkin. Middle row: Joe Paquette; Jade Bourbonnière;
Taylor McNally; Britney Bazinet; Katelyn Ransom; Taylor Cosman;
Ezra McCaveney; Carolyn Lacka; Hailey Green; Desiree Demers;
Victoria Spiers; Luke Perrault; Matthew David; Paul Bombardier;
The Brunelles. Front row: Alexandre Fox McCoy; Paul Robitaille;
Helen Tracey; Mélanie-Rose Frappier; Hannah Bazinet; Heather
Van Wyck. Missing from photo: Chantal Gouliquer; Josh Bushey;
Ishmael Van Der Rassel.

This March break, Métis high school students from across Ontario are in Mattawa for the 2015 Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Infinite Reach March Break Camp. Held at the Canadian Ecology Centre, this four-day retreat is an opportunity for students to discuss post-secondary options and learn about the MNO and its Infinite Reach Métis Solidarity Network while embracing their culture and heritage.

The MNO Infinite Reach Network is comprised of Métis post-secondary students who have the common goal of working together to enhance their post-secondary experience. The program is designed to ease the transition of Métis high school students to post-secondary by creating a community where Métis students can share experiences and support one another in their academic pursuits.

Gabe Picard, MNO Infinite Reach Facilitator for Confederation College explains that “it’s a way to create a network within your community and within your college of other Métis learners and provide support and assistance to each other and to let your school community know who the Métis people are.”

“Infinite Reach March Break Camp is a chance for university and college students to connect with high school students and introduce them to not only what post-secondary is about but also what’s available as far as support and community at the institutions they are applying to,” explained Sahra MacLean, MNO Violence Against Aboriginal Women Coordinator.

Throughout their stay, the students will participate in various cultural activities that allow them to connect with nature. A favourite activity so far for Sudbury student Melanie-Rose Frappier was the snow shoe hike through the beautiful grounds.

“Just being outside in the woods with the nature surrounding us, it’s just amazing. This is my third year here at the Infinite Reach March Break Camp and every time I get to learn new things,” said Melanie-Rose.

Along with cultural activities, students will be given an overview on the future job market, information on various post-secondary opportunities, potential funding, programs, disciplines and take part in a resume writing workshop.

After four days at the camp, many great friendships and connections have already been made.

“I’ve met people all the way from Atikokan close to Thunder Bay, to Hamilton and after this program I know that we will still keep in touch because you really make great friendships here,” explained Melanie-Rose.

The camp is a great opportunity for students to build networks not just with each other but with the Infinite Reach Facilitators, MNO staff and community members.

“It’s a unique experience. There is nothing like this that I’ve ever come across before. It brings so many people together from so many different backgrounds that have a shared history and a shared sense of identity and really creates a sense of family and of community. As well, it’s really fun,” explains Gabe.

For more information on the Infinite Reach program and how to get involved, please click here.

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