Délįnę Summer Camp Program
An isolated community with a small population, Délįnę is situated on the shores of beautiful Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories. Unfortunately, the cultural genocide which resulted from the residential school era has negatively worked against the promotion of traditional, community living in our youth. Furthermore, as we live in a technologically-focused time, finding entertainment in traditional activities is not always enough for youth; they become quickly bored without electronics, which can lead to substance abuse, crime, etc. Therefore, the Délįnę Got’įnę Government is working towards making more programs available for youth which can serve to nurture their need for fun and excitement while simultaneously encouraging their intellectual growth and promoting healthy, traditional living.
In particular, during the summer months, due to a lack of funding, there are no major programs or activities for youth. Neither is there a daycare service available. Therefore, younger children are often left to entertain themselves while supervised by their older siblings, as their parents are at work. Televisions become babysitters and substance abuse increases. These are formative years! These are the years for experiential learning! These are the years to work on team building! These are the years that our fragile youth should be using to discover who they are - with guidance!
The Délįnę Got’įnę Government would like to establish a Summer Camp Program for youth. Four week-long camps would take place during July and August 2018. The government’s Recreation Department would spearhead the project. The themes of the camps will vary between traditional and western knowledge. The four main themes will be music/arts, science, on-the-land activities, and sports, with an overlap of traditional and western knowledge throughout the camps. Several instructors/facilitators will fly in from the south in order to run the music/arts, science and sports camps as there is no one locally available to facilitate in these areas. The on-the-land camp will require local expertise in its delivery. Local assistance will be required for each of the camps, with respect to set up and delivery, as required. The camps will be directed to all youth aged 5-18 and will be split into two age groups.
Who Will it Benefit?
The youth of Délįnę will be the main beneficiaries of this initiative. As these camps will be directed to all youth, aged 5-18, there is a chance for all school-aged youth to come together in an informal, experiential setting and work cooperatively in gaining western and traditional skills and knowledge. It is imperative that this collaborative knowledge exchange take place throughout the camps so as to help youth to better understand how traditional knowledge holds such a valuable place in the modern world.
Through this program, these youth will have the opportunity to get a taste for and develop skills in areas that are not available to them locally throughout the school year. One of the disadvantages of living in an isolated community is that there are limited resources for programs and activities (for example, music is not taught in the school or privately due to a lack of available instructors) and by establishing this Summer Camp Program, additional resources and trained staff can be brought in to provide these unique and otherwise unobtainable services to our young citizens.
Not only will our youth have the chance to experience new things through these camps, but they will also be able to participate in fun and exciting, supervised activities, thereby helping to eliminate one of the key factors in the problems our youth face – a lack of direction. Both in the literal and figurative sense, our children will benefit from having direction.
Finally, our youth are our future. Youth may benefit most from this program at this point in time, but a subsequent objective of the program is to build capacity within the community. By opening the minds of our young ones and helping them to experience new things (which is difficult in their isolated position), with a hands-on, team-building approach, we are working towards building successful leaders of tomorrow. This pay-it-forward concept will be demonstrated by having the older youth take their turn to be leaders in next year’s summer camps as well as being exemplary role models for the little ones, both in school life and throughout community living.