MNO Council holds annual Aboriginal Week Youth trip to YMCA Camp

Submitted by: Larry Ferris, MNO Georgian Bay Métis Council Chair

Georgian Bay Metis Council_YMCA Camp Kitchikewana
The MNO Georgian Bay Métis Council and youth campers
at the YMCA Camp Kitchikewana. Click here to view a
larger
 version.

This summer, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Georgian Bay Métis Council (GBMC) held its annual Aboriginal Week Youth trip to YMCA Camp Kitchikewana. Also in attendance were youth from Beausoleil Island First Nations and Benny's Club from Waubaushene. The MNO GBMC had the largest group again consisting of 29 people: 25 youth and four Councillors.

One of the goals of the camp is to foster leadership and team building amongst the youth. One of the ways this is created is with the “moving up” of youth from a camper to a Councillor. One youth that made this transition this year was long-time camper and MNO citizen Dalton Latondress. MNO GBMC Chair Larry Ferris stated that, “Dalton did a wonderful job supporting the younger children, providing guidance and making sure they had the most fun possible!” There are also many other youth that will soon be able to make this important next step.

The MNO GBMC were very impressed with the youth at this year’s camp as they created a caring environment and were attentive in making sure that everyone was having a great time and got the chance to participate. They were also very welcoming and made friends with many of the other youth at the camp. Chair Ferris was very pleased that “all our youth w[as] well behaved and [were] great ambassadors for our Council and the MNO.”

YMCA Camp Kitchikewana provides a positive space for youth to try new things. The MNO GBMC noted that it is always rewarding watching the youth learn new skills and the big smiles and new-found confidence they get when, with a little bit of work, they succeed!

A few new activities added to this year’s camp; fire starting was a big hit and showed youth how important fire is for survival and how hard it would have been for our ancestors to start a fire without modern matches or lighters. Youth got to test out traditional fire starters including a bow drill, flint and rock, and flint steel strikers.

The second new activity was an archaeological dig. Parks Canada staff provided a mock dig site that our youth were able to test out to get an idea of all of the work that goes into a real dig. Other activities at the camp included canoeing, kayaking, hiking and more! The MNO GBMC remarked that it is great to watch the youth progress and excel at the different activities offered every year.

“On behalf of the MNO GBMC and our youth, I would like to thank the Georgian Bay Islands National Parks, the YMCA Camp and staff for providing the opportunity at a reduced cost,” said Chair Ferris. “We also thank Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for providing the funds this year for the Camp. OPG made it possible for us to take all the children who applied to go and no parent had to say they could not afford to send them. This Camp in the summer would cost for a week about $1000.00 per child.” 

The MNO GBMC would also like to thank the other volunteer's at YMCA Camp Kitchikewana, Trish Paradis and Janice Ferris. “This was Tricia's first time at the Camp and she did a wonderful job,” continued Chair Ferris. “It is not easy to get good volunteers like Janice and Trish with the promise of a trip to a remote Island with 25 kids; most people would run!”

Published on: August 16, 2016

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