Empowering Young Men and Women

Last year’s Kids Culture Camp was incredible! Now we just can’t wait for this year’s Camp. The camp will run from August 7 - 11 this year at the Pioneer Lodge, Sundre, Alberta. Our Oskapew program for older boys was an amazing time spent with 5 young men exploring the journey of becoming great leaders. This program ran alongside and integrated into the regular camping program that is focused on kids 8 to 12 years old. This year, we are excited to run the Oskapew leadership program for both our young women and men; a major expansion to the leadership training component of our camping program. Kids Culture Camp is now in its 16th year providing a safe, holistic, spiritual and cultural environment where lessons of love, trust, respect, honesty, wisdom, courage and humility are lived out communally.

As the years of camping experiences pile up, more and more of these young kids are introduced to a lifestyle that comprises the best of our First nations values and traditions, alongside being introduced to a unique community of caring and unconditional love by leaders who are followers of the Jesus way.

If you would like to help encourage these camps to continue, here are two practical ways:
1.Help send a kid to camp Actual cost is around $450. We try and raise the 250 believing their family or band will come up with $200.

2. Come as a volunteer: contact Lisa Laird at 306-261-3251 or email lisalaird@gmail.com.

Since 2002 Indigenous Pathways (My People and IEmergence), in partnership with other entities, has run the Kids Culture Camp experience for First Nations children from Native communities, foster care families and urban communities. The purpose of the camp is to provide a safe, holistic, spiritual and cultural environment where lessons of love, trust, respect, wisdom, courage and humility are lived out communally. The incredible setting is in the Foothills of the Rockies, not far from Sundre, Alberta. Our completely volunteer staff of around 30 is comprised mostly of First Nations young people and adults, enjoying along with the kids, time on the land, horsemanship, traditional crafts and sports, swimming, story-telling, and campfire time before their nighttime rest in the tipis.

For more on what happens in camp, visit this page.

Dinamaaganik: All My Relations

It is with much anticipation and excitement that the iEmergence Mish Adventures Camp staff have packed their bags and head out from their home communities to travel to Mishkeegogamang First Nation for the 11th year of Mish Adventures Camp. We are delighted to have 14 returning camp staff and to welcome 6 new staff to our team this summer. We are also privileged to have a number of youth from Mishkeegogamang First Nation joining our full-time camp staff. This is definitely one of our favourite parts of camp when the youth come and live with us for three weeks to help plan for the more than 100 children from their community that will attend Kids Camp. We look forward to the time we will spend with children, youth and community members from July 1st until July 31st, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

Our theme for Mish Adventures Camp 2017 is Dinamaaganik - All My Relations. We can’t wait to discover and explore the interconnectedness of everything in the universe – the sky, the sun, the wind, the water, the plants, the animals, the land and all of the intricate parts in between – through our theme days this summer. Children and youth will have opportunities to play games, complete art activities, participate in sports, go swimming and hear stories that invite them to uncover the importance of everything around us and the relationships between them. Through the activities children and youth engage in and the conversations they have, they will gain a deeper understanding of their own place within the world and recognize how important it is for everyone and everything to be respected as they each have an important place in creation and a vital role to play in supporting the rest of life around them.

We invite you to take an opportunity to check out the stories, pictures and videos we share throughout our time in Mishkeegogamang First Nation in the month of July so you can explore, learn, grow and laugh with us. Like our page www.facebook.com/iemergence and consider giving towards the future of these young leaders! Miigwetch!

Restoring Life through Youth Camps

I would like to introduce you to Flora. Growing up in Mishkeegogamang Ojibwe First Nations, Flora has seen and endured many challenges in her community related to the painful scars that her people carry from the history of colonization, the impacts of residential schools and the marginalization many Indigenous People experience. This generational trauma, this seemingly unbearable pain, has led our younger generation to do horrid things to themselves and sometimes to one another – even to their own family members. In the past months, we have seen an increasing number of community youth deciding on suicide as a final answer to the pain they feel. Flora, however, sees great hope for her generation.

Flora has been attending the Mish Adventures Camp program that iEmergence provides in her community for the past 9 years - since she was just 6 years old. In her words,

“Mish Adventures is a camp where we learn how to love, respect, and be honest to each other and just have fun! I've been going to Mish Adventures since I was 6 years old as a camper. At the age of 12, I became a junior leader to help the staff lead a group of kids around the camp activity stations. Then, at the age of 14, I became a senior leader and was able to lead my own group and have my own activity station. I am now 15 years old and I'm becoming a fulltime staff member of Mish Adventures!
Throughout those years, I learned how to become a better leader as I am right now! I love being at Mish Adventures with a lot of caring people. It's wonderful to spend time being outdoors and seeing the kids have fun! I really look forward to this summer! "

Flora sees her home, Mishkeegogamang, as a “community full of leaders and caring people.” She has risen above struggles and hardships, striving to be an example of this leadership to her generation as well as to those that follow her. We are blessed to have seen this growth and healing in her life through the years and are committed to continuing the journey with her and all of the youth that attend our camps.

To address this real need for meaningful experiences for Indigenous children and youth, iEmergence, in partnership with local Indigenous leaders, provides two summer camp programs: Mish Adventures for those in Mishkeegogamang First Nation in Northern Ontario, and Kids Culture Camp for those from First Nation reserves in Southern and Central Alberta. Through these camps, we provide children and youth with the opportunity to explore a variety of new skills and develop meaningful relationships with camp staff in a safe, community-minded environment. As they participate in arts and crafts, sports, team-building games, swimming and learn from cultural stories, teachings and practices they are given the opportunity to step outside of their ordinary routines and imagine the world as a better place.

For more information on what happens in these camps, go to this page.

Sponsor a First Nations child this summer to make their dream of a full life come closer to reality.
For North Americans, you can
donate online here!

In this critical time in the lives of these young people, getting to know Jesus, the One who created, loves, and understands them wraps around all the activities. The whole experience imprints powerfully...and for a lifetime.

Matt LeBlanc
Director, iEmergence

"There's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard."
- Arundhati Roy