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