Ghost River Rediscovery Re-connection Initiative

The Cause

Ghost River Rediscovery (GRR) has been facilitating transformative outdoor experiences for youth in Southern Alberta for over 20 years. Drawing inspiration and practice from the Indigenous way of knowing and environmental education, two generations of youth have been able to enter adulthood, with an understanding of self, that can only come from a healthy connection to the natural world. This attachment to their natural world, was built intentionally over time through a supportive community of facilitators, youth workers and Elders, whose commonality is the empowering belief that a healthy connection to the land is necessary for everyone.
The transformative power of these programs is not available to all youth equally. There are natural barriers in place that enable us to only reach so many youth every year, with the biggest one being a financial barrier. It is this lack of opportunity and these natural barriers that have inspired this Re-connection Initiative.
Working with the local community through the Re-connection Initiative, GRR would offer a 12 month training opportunity centered around developing a skill set for delivering outdoor experiences to youth in their own communities. This opportunity would target members of a community, who are already working in a capacity to support youth within that community. This training would build progressively upon itself through a series of training days scattered across the year. This would allow for exposure to programming in all four seasons and the opportunity for participants to gain experience and develop skills over time and through mentorship opportunities. The cornerstone of the program would be a 4 day, 3 night experience at our Indigenous based camp, located remotely in the Ghost Valley Wilderness area.

Who Will it Benefit?

The intention of the Re-connection Initiative is that youth from any community in Southern Alberta can benefit from this opportunity through program facilitation of the Re-connection participants. This is based on the premise that a youth program facilitator from their community has been involved with the Re-connection Initiative. This opportunity would be available to anyone from any community or culture across Southern Alberta. The training would be open to a maximum of 10 participants for its entire duration, in order to support a successful and progressive learning experience for all involved. An application process would be initiated to ensure equal opportunity to anyone interested in applying. The selection criteria would be based upon the value that the applicants put on their own connection with the natural world and their desire to support youth in developing these natural relationships, through the programs that they facilitate
Youth will directly benefit through the program’s that the Re-connection participants facilitate within their own communities. A portion of the training time would be spent on supporting the participants in developing nature based programming that is appropriate for their community and reflective of the resources that they have available.
The Re-connection Initiative is being developed with the intention of exposing youth program facilitators from diverse cultures and communities, to the transformative outdoor experiences that GRR has been providing to youth for a long time. These Re-connection participants will facilitate their own nature based programming within their communities. These are experiences that will be facilitated to many youth over time within these communities. Therefore, the ripple effect of who will benefit from this idea is potentially boundless.