Thirty Grade 6 to 9 students attended the Meno – Bimaadiziwin – “Leading a Good Life” Aboriginal Youth Program that was held for the first time by Lakehead Public Schools at Lakehead University during the week of August 16. The program focused on life skills, leadership, healthy relationships, positive self-esteem, self-awareness and the connections between culture and education.
“This was a very unique opportunity for the students to work with facilitators and each other to develop their school and community leadership skills during the week long camp,” says Anika Guthrie, Aboriginal Education Resource Teacher at Lakehead Public Schools. “As students stayed in the University Residence, they had ample opportunity to work with camp staff and participate in numerous cultural teachings and leadership activities.”
The students from McKellar Park Central Public School, Ogden Community Public School, Sherbrooke Public School, Sir Winston Churchill Elementary, Algonquin Avenue Public School and Kingsway Park Public School began arriving at Lakehead University Residence on Sunday, August 16. The camp was developed through a partnership between Lakehead Public Schools, the Ministry of Education, Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre, Lakehead University, Ontario Provincial Police and Thunder Bay Police Services with guidance from local elders.
Training for the camp councilors was held in June and facilitated by George Couchie, who developed Niigan Mosewak, an OPP Aboriginal Youth Camp in the North Bay area. Mr. Couchi is a retired OPP Officer and owner of Redtail Hawk Training & Consulting. Mr. Couchie has an impressive track record in law enforcement and for his commitment to Aboriginal Youth and will also be in attendance at the Aboriginal Youth Program camp to lend his expertise throughout the week. More information about Mr. Couchie can be found at http://www.nativeawarenesstraining.ca