The Elk Valley Youth Leadership Camp is running for its second consecutive summer from Aug. 8 – 12. Facilitated by Outdoor Connections, this white water camp provides participants with a supportive environment to learn river safety, white water canoeing and outdoor living skills. Exploring interpersonal skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork and self-awareness are integrated throughout the week. The group progresses from flat water, moving water and up to class III rapids including a three-day river expedition on the Kootenay River. This program has a subsidized registration fee of $400/week with further funding opportunities from the Emily Brydon Youth Foundation. This program can be free for any local participants.
Increasing opportunities for youth has been a topic that at some point many communities explore and discuss. There is a seemingly endless amount of programs available for younger children. Around the time teenagers find themselves swimming through their own river of hormones there are typically little to no options with the exception of competitive team sports. Youth centres which can provide a variety of programs and support typically only exist in larger city centres.
Around this stage of life is also the time when peers matter most, parents can receive one word answers at the dinner table and most adolescents will go left if they are told to go right. At the same time young adults have a zest, creativity and youthful energy that can flourish when fostered by healthy relationships. That adolescent energy, the desire to contribute or lead, goes unsupported and untapped all too often.
Outdoor Connections would like adults and teenagers within the Elk Valley to know this opportunity exists. As a non-profit organization dedicated to providing meaningful and affordable outdoor programs we believe a program of this nature should be familiar to all families. There is seemingly a gap between the reported desire for youth programming and the motivation or willingness to engage and enrol in new programs. It can be very difficult to fill programs for youth even when they are free.
Whether it’s a lack of advertising budget or the perceived risk of trying something new, it has been a challenge to reach 100 per cent enrolment. We know there are many youth in the Elk Valley that can benefit from a week full of adventure, fun and learning in a non-competitive and inclusive environment. It has been said before that every teenager needs at least three “Spark Champions” in order to thrive. This means three adults in their lives who see, foster and support the “spark” that is alive in each young adult. Sometimes all this mentor has to be is the bridge between the young adult and the opportunities that await them.
For more information, visit Connectoutdoors.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org.