Foxy Peer Leader Retreat!
FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth; www.arcticfoxy.com) is a youth-driven arts-based sexual health and peer leadership program for young women from across the Northwest Territories. After a successful pilot of our Peer Leadership Retreat last summer, we are planning a second Retreat for 25 Northern women (aged 13-17 years) at Blachford Lake Lodge in July 2014, with a pay-it-forward component – Youth-Led Community Projects.
During the 10 day Retreat, the participants will experience arts-based sexual health education workshops and leadership training led by Northern female artistic facilitators. They will identify issues that they see as priorities in their own communities, and then, with the support of the FOXY staff and a mentor in their home community, create a Community Project Plan to address those issues. Upon their return to their home communities across the Northwest Territories, they will complete their projects as FOXY Peer Leaders and ambassadors of our program. The Community Projects are an opportunity for the participants to put their leadership training into action to strengthen their communities, and demonstrate the positive effect of healthy decision-making and confidence building.
The Community Projects will aim to benefit the participants’ communities, but in addition, the Peer Leader Retreat will include a new focus on digital storytelling. FOXY focuses on healthy choices and healthy decision making, and digital storytelling is an excellent way for the participants to connect with each other and others in communities around the world about issues that are important to young Northern women. Sharing their stories with a wider audience is a valuable confidence-building tool and a great method for expression. Youth connect on social media, and FOXY is looking to infuse those connections with empowerment, social awareness, and health-consciousness.
In the future, FOXY strives to incorporate more audiences, including a wider Northern reach and young men.
Who Will it Benefit?
In its current form, FOXY is directed at young women in the Northwest Territories between the ages of 13 and 17 and has reached over 250 young women across the North through our school programs and pilot Retreat last year. In the future, and with increased sustainable funding, we hope to expand the program to other audiences; in particular, we would like to become a pan-territorial in scope, and incorporate a program for young men as well. We see these as key progressions in our programming, and continue to look for these opportunities.
The Community Project component of FOXY, however, has a wider reach and benefit. The participants of FOXY will all conduct their own Community Projects, tailored to the unique needs of their own home communities, and in particular, their peer groups. It is our hope that the benefit of the FOXY Community Projects will reach many youth throughout the North by merit of being youth-driven.