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Lake Athabasca Youth Council Open House: Inter-generational Success


Apr 17, 2013 0 Comments

Fort Chipewyan showed off their organizational and leadership skills when they dove into the planning for the Lake Athabasca Youth Council (LAYC) Open House. The event served as the official inauguration of LAYC: a volunteer, non-profit society working to engage and support youth in positive learning experiences with a focus on building confident and skilled future leaders.

“Despite the cold weather, I could not believe the interest of the community and the turnout that we had. There was a lot of interest in LAYC and wanting to know what we’ve been up to,” said LAYC Board Member, Dana Wylie. Dana pointed out that, “The quick turnaround between naming the date and producing the event meant that collaboration was key to our success. Titles and positions were all checked at the door.”

“Yes, it was definitely the kids putting in their two-cents worth and everyone listening. They were proud and really took ownership for everything at the open house,” said LAYC Board Member, Tania Dashcavich.

What’s an event without proper decorations? “When we did the decorating it was two days beforehand and the kids were doing everything. They all had jobs to do and were excited,” said Tania.

Everyone agrees that the youth’s contribution to the planning and execution of the open house was a major reason it was a success, but great planning doesn’t equal success if no one shows up for the party. The council needn’t have worried:  Mamawi Community Hall was filled to capacity.

“I’ve worked for other non-profits and I’ve rarely seen such a good turnout for an event. The ambient air outside was freezing, but the soul felt warm,” said Executive Director of OSLI, Vincent Saubestre, who took direction from the organizers regarding hall decorations.

LAYC activities were explained at booths designed and decorated by community youth. Each booth was based on events held over the year and gave a great visual for the immense variety of activities the kids have been involved in. The fun fair, music festivals, culture camp, and a (past) presentation by Theo Fleury were just some of the topics that kept the hall hopping.

Vincent had fun at a booth near the front of the open house. “I participated at the booth highlighting a dance that LAYC had organized earlier in the year. I showed off some of my steps and asked participants to show me their best dance moves. All but three or four people were happy to dance on the spot.” It sounds like there were also some impromptu dance lessons as Elders showed children their finer steps.

The Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI), one of the collaborative projects of OSLI and the communities, hosted a booth with Vuntut Gwitchin Traditional Teacher, Stanley Njootli Sr. He had youth making rabbit snares and was impressed because many youth were also able to demonstrate the local way of making a snare and compared the two methods with him. Hmm, a little competition is good for a game, but not the rabbit.

“There were kids standing at the booths showing their families what they’ve been doing; pointing at pictures and explaining to each other what it was. This was the first time I saw families – four generations – at an event. The community knows what we’re all about now,” said Tania.

Dana agrees. “One of the best parts of the open house was the booths. The information and pictures were personally shared, which I believe was a huge success in communicating positive outcomes of LAYC and what we are trying to achieve.”

The youth brainstormed on a method to get people to visit all the booths so that their many successes would be enjoyed by the whole community. They decided on a passport that guests could get stamped and enter for draws. The grand prize was a trip for a family of four to Fantasy Land Hotel at West Edmonton Mall.

Masters of Ceremonies, Hana Wylie, and Youth Representative on LAYC, Lucas Waquan confidently demonstrated their leadership skills while keeping the guests informed and laughing throughout the evening. There might be a career in stand-up for these two!

“I was pleased with how everything kind of fell into place, and of course, the OSLI team were very helpful in so many aspects. I was so very pleased that we had those resources available to us,” said Dana.

“Many people came together to produce this event, including LAYC members, OSLI team members, and many volunteers.  When you see youth, supporting adults, and partners all working together for a common goal, it’s magical,” said Cheryl Alexander, Community Lead for OSLI, and ex-officio on the LAYC board.

Tania shared what this collaboration meant to her.  “We are one. Look at the way OSLI and LAYC worked together on the Open House Celebration. You didn’t just fly in on your plane to shake hands and leave. You were working with us all along.  It made this event special.  That’s partnership”.

Fort Chipewyan showed off their organizational and leadership skills when they dove into the planning for the Lake Athabasca Youth Council (LAYC) Open House. The event served as the official inauguration of LAYC: a volunteer, non-profit society working to engage and support youth in positive learning experiences with a focus on building confident and skilled future leaders.

“Despite the cold weather, I could not believe the interest of the community and the turnout that we had. There was a lot of interest in LAYC and wanting to know what we’ve been up to,” said LAYC Board Member, Dana Wylie.

Dana pointed out that, “The quick turnaround between naming the date and producing the event meant that collaboration was key to our success. Titles and positions were all checked at the door.”

“Yes, it was definitely the kids putting in their two-cents worth and everyone listening. They were proud and really took ownership for everything at the open house,” said LAYC Board Member, Tania Dashcavich.

What’s an event without proper decorations? “When we did the decorating it was two days beforehand and the kids were doing everything. They all had jobs to do and were excited,” said Tania.

Everyone agrees that the youth’s contribution to the planning and execution of the open house was a major reason it was a success, but great planning doesn’t equal success if no one shows up for the party. The council needn’t have worried:  Mamawi Community Hall was filled to capacity.

"I’ve worked for other non-profits and I’ve rarely seen such a good turnout for an event. The ambient air outside was freezing, but the soul felt warm,” said Executive Director of OSLI, Vincent Saubestre, who took direction from the organizers regarding hall decorations.

LAYC activities were explained at booths designed and decorated by community youth. Each booth was based on events held over the year and gave a great visual for the immense variety of activities the kids have been involved in. The fun fair, music festivals, culture camp, and a (past) presentation by Theo Fleury were just some of the topics that kept the hall hopping.

Vincent had fun at a booth near the front of the open house. “I participated at the booth highlighting a dance that LAYC had organized earlier in the year. I showed off some of my steps and asked participants to show me their best dance moves. All but three or four people were happy to dance on the spot.” It sounds like there were also some impromptu dance lessons as Elders showed children their finer steps.

The Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI), one of the collaborative projects of OSLI and the communities, hosted a booth with Vuntut Gwitchin Traditional Teacher, Stanley Njootli Sr. He had youth making rabbit snares and was impressed because many youth were also able to demonstrate the local way of making a snare and compared the two methods with him. Hmm, a little competition is good for a game, but not the rabbit.

“There were kids standing at the booths showing their families what they’ve been doing; pointing at pictures and explaining to each other what it was. This was the first time I saw families – four generations – at an event. The community knows what we’re all about now,” said Tania.

Dana agrees. “One of the best parts of the open house was the booths. The information and pictures were personally shared, which I believe was a huge success in communicating positive outcomes of LAYC and what we are trying to achieve.”

The youth brainstormed on a method to get people to visit all the booths so that their many successes would be enjoyed by the whole community. They decided on a passport that guests could get stamped and enter for draws. The grand prize was a trip for a family of four to Fantasy Land Hotel at West Edmonton Mall.

Masters of Ceremonies, Hana Wylie, and Youth Representative on LAYC, Lucas Waquan confidently demonstrated their leadership skills while keeping the guests informed and laughing throughout the evening. There might be a career in stand-up for these two!

“I was pleased with how everything kind of fell into place, and of course, the OSLI team were very helpful in so many aspects. I was so very pleased that we had those resources available to us,” said Dana.

“Many people came together to produce this event, including LAYC members, OSLI team members, and many volunteers.  When you see youth, supporting adults, and partners all working together for a common goal, it’s magical,” said Cheryl Alexander, Community Lead for OSLI, and ex-officio on the LAYC board.

Tania shared what this collaboration meant to her.  “We are one. Look at the way OSLI and LAYC worked together on the Open House Celebration. You didn’t just fly in on your plane to shake hands and leave. You were working with us all along.  It made this event special.  That’s partnership”.

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