Leaders of Tomorrow

Leaders of Tomorrow
Melody Chislett-Morris

The Summer Youth Cultural Interpreter position has helped me gain a stronger sense of who I am both as an individual and as a member of a team. I enjoy this program because it allows me to gain valuable work experience while gaining personal interest, culture and history, building a stronger community, and stepping out into the workforce with a sense of individuality all the while having a great summer.

This program gives youth the opportunity to learn while you work. In my first year as a Summer Youth Cultural Interpreter I learnt many new and exciting activities. We attended a two day training course with Scott Carpenter (supervisor) and Ruth; both were incredible. There was so much to learn but our supervisor Scott Carpenter made the experience everlasting. He has a friendly inviting personality which allows you to learn and process the materials being taught. He brought many items with him to Sault Ste. Marie. I remember seeing items I hadn’t before seen. He taught history and culture in a way that was fun, interactive, interesting, and completely comical. We were taught how to finger weave, embroider, jigging, watched fascinating movies about Métis, stick and hoop games, Jacobs ladder, beading, the fur trade,  and many other really great activities.  This style is how I wish I had been taught history in school. This year we have expanded our training to five days. Activities included hunting and trapping, fishing, War of 1812 involvement, finger weaving, embroidery, rug hooking, beading, paddle making, and much more. At each training I have learned that I grow stronger, more knowledgeable, and more personable with each experience.

I believe this job should and could be a year round position because it would allow youth in colleges, universities, and high school to obtain critical work experience, information and a sense of self.  This is a time period in many youth’s lives when having a sense of who you are is already confusing and this may be more so true for Métis when there is less information within our social groups readily accessible. Having a stronger sense of who you are can make Métis youth strong leaders of tomorrow when we instill a sense of belonging, self-worth, and self- identity.

This program allows you to be who you are and build on that confidence in a warm and friendly environment. The staff at MNO are eager to help the students and are always available to answer questions, guide you to make more independent decisions, and to clarify your objectives. The best thing I got from the staff is that they are eager to guide you to making independent choices using rationale and logic. I have never had a job do that before: allowing us to strive to be the best not because we are told to but instead because we want to.

The position of Summer Youth Cultural Interpreter has helped guide me to expanding my knowledge to help build on my career in a way that addresses Métis as a community and making sure those services are being provided to Métis within their communities. I have never had more fun, interest, and such a thirst to learn in my life. Thank you Métis Nation of Ontario for changing my life!