Watching Indigenous Leadership Bloom
With over 140 children and youth attending Mish Adventures Camp this summer, we relied heavily on the Senior Youth from Mishkeegogamang First Nation to run our day-camp programs each day. Whether it was running a station, leading a group or cooking lunch, this year’s group of Senior Leaders was awesome and really made the camp program what it was.
Our Senior Leadership program has been running for four years, providing youth from Mishkeegogamang with opportunities for leadership development and a space to cultivate their own, unique leadership skills. As the youth have grown, they have been offered full-time jobs as camp staff. Year after year, the youth astonish us as they naturally lead their groups, creatively interact with children and help out throughout the day in so many ways.
This year it was amazing to watch the youth see themselves as leaders and make decisions based on their own confidence, maturity and strength. Whether it was Claudia continuing to lead the same group of twelve 6-8 year olds day after day even when she was tired or Savannah’s desire to join “her girls” (a group of ten 7-9 year old girls) for the day’s activities because “they won’t follow anyone else” even when she was sick, the youth of Mishkeegogamang knew that as leaders they sometimes had to make choices that were not easy, for the good of camp and the children in their community.
One youth that really showed what it means to be a strong leader this year was Zuriel. Zuriel decided to be a group leader this year and be responsible for a group of ten 9-11 year old boys. Day after day, he would gather his boys together and give them a quick pep-talk in the morning about the good choices they could make and how important it is to listen. “Papa Nine”, as he affectionately became known as by the boys of Group 9, encouraged the boys to participate in the camp activities and showed, by example, how to be respectful and responsible. It is these leaders from Mishkeegogamang First Nation that truly highlight what Mish Adventures Camp is - a place to grow and develop who Creator desires you to be. We look forward to continuing this journey with these leaders in the years to come!