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Youth learn how to build canoe

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by David Darwin, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. David Darwin

    David Darwin Canoeist and sailor

    Saw this news item from a local Ottawa (ON) newspaper. I thought it was a great way to engage youth and teach worthwhile skills.

    EMC news - A new summer program at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health will give youth the opportunity to learn all about one of Canada's most iconic modes of water transportation.

    The Birch Bark Canoe Project is run through the I Am Connected program at the Wabano Centre in Vanier, giving young people the chance to learn about how to build and use a canoe.

    Christine Head is running the program and she is looking to reach out to aboriginal youth between the ages of 10 and 24 through the offering, which is in response to a drop in the number of young people using the centre.

    Since the canoe project began on July 10, youth who have joined the group have begun the learning the basics about canoe construction and in the coming weeks, the centre will take the youth on a number of canoe trips.

    Head said she is hoping to get the youth excited about the prospect of building a canoe.

    The last week of the summer will be when the students will begin building a full-sized birch bark canoe with the help of Pinnok, a teacher of the traditional construction methods.

    This program is one of the ways the Wabano Centre is reaching out to youth. A Youth Council was formed in 2011 as a way to give a voice to aboriginal children in the community.

    Funded by Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the I Am Connected program uses art, mentoring, urban planning, life skills training and photography as ways to engage youth, offering them the opportunity to get connected with various people and organizations in Vanier and across the city. The work is geared towards creating a safe and healthy community.

    Head said any interested youth are still welcome to join in the canoe-building program.

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