Youth program draws high praise from students

The High Prairie Native Friendship Centre hired 10 students for its summer Youth Leadership and Employment program. In front, left-right, are Janet Tanner, Carl Willier, Quinten L’Hirondelle, Braedan L’Hirondelle and Natasha Cunningham. In the back, left-right, are Ashleigh Laderoute, Nikita Tallman, Chase Willier, and Emily Coad. Missing is Brittany Willier.
The High Prairie Native Friendship Centre hired 10 students for its summer Youth Leadership and Employment program. In front, left-right, are Janet Tanner, Carl Willier, Quinten L’Hirondelle, Braedan L’Hirondelle and Natasha Cunningham. In the back, left-right, are Ashleigh Laderoute, Nikita Tallman, Chase Willier, and Emily Coad. Missing is Brittany Willier.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Summer wrapped up as 10 students completed the Youth Leadership and Employment Program at the High Prairie Native Friendship Centre.

With a Canada Summer Jobs grant, the program ran from July 4 to Aug. 10 in partnership with the Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County.

“The youth learned employment skills, including working together as a team, importance of punctuality, leadership skill, socialization skills, and basic labourer skills,” says Lyanne Grammer, executive director at the centre.
“They went from a group of youth and adults of different ages from not knowing or barely knowing each other, to a group of friends, and they quickly became a family.”

Students completed several tasks and projects for the town and county. Each group of five alternated between the two municipalities.

The work included weed whacking, painting and picking garbage at transfer stations.

At the county, the youth worked at various locations each week at Enilda, Joussard, Faust and Grouard.

“They enjoyed working at the different locations because it gave them new scenery during employment,” says Grammer.

Each week started on Monday where students learned about their Native traditions.

“The youth visited East Prairie Metis Settlement and an Elder from the settlement came and showed them where to pick laboom tea, and rat root, while teaching the youth about the tea and rat root’s many uses,” Grammer says.

They also picked blueberries, shared stories about the old ways and how they used traditional medicines.

During the program, the youth also made a batch of bannock, and learned about smudging and were to find it.

Fridays were the days for outings, such as tours of local museums, paintballing, horseback riding, mini golf, barbecues at the lakes, swimming, slip and slide, shopping trips, and a jump yard in Grande Prairie.

The centre plans to return the program next summer. Many of the students intend to apply again.

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