This past month I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Native Youth and Family Services of Toronto (Scarborough location) Leaders in Training (LIT) youth camp. I gave writing workshops while Shane Belcourt gave photograph workshops so that we could assist the youth to make this magazine.
Kevin Fujita, Youth Worker at NYFST
They paired up and selected someone that they admired and that inspired them and interviewed and photographed them over the course of a few weeks. It was awesome to get to know some of the Native youth in Scarborough and get to know the people that make a difference in their lives.
I got a similar opportunity this past February when I worked on two books for the Woodland Cultural Center and with elementary schools located on Six Nations. The students there were paired with elders and it was a great learning experience for me to learn from the elders, hear their stories, and learn more about Mohawk, Oneida, and Cayuga culture.
The L.I.T. youth getting their gifts
Last night was the reception where the final magazine was revealed. The youth loved the final product. These kind of experiences are so valuable for youth as they get the opportunity to learn from those that they respect, learn more about culture, and get to be the person asking questions. One day I’d like to take this type of workshop back home and work with youth from my reserve, Tsi Del Del. The connections that can be made with the youth is exciting and something that can really be built on. I tip my hat to all of those who work as youth care workers, teachers, and those who run youth empowerment workshops. It’s such an important job to inspire and encourage youth so that our next generation is healthy, engaged, and excited.
Jennifer Podemski popped in to the reception last night and gave a very inspiring message to everyone. That woman is such a professional speaking pro. I think it got the youth thinking of what kind of an impact that they can make on this world whether they be writers, photographers, singers, dancers, rappers, or poets. Everyone has their own unique gifts to bring to light.
Thank you to Woodland Cultural Centre for inspiring this workshop for Planet Indigenus and the LIT youth at NYFST (Scarborough). Also to the generous sponsors for making this happen. But most of all, I’m thankful for the youth who participated and gave a lot of their time and attention to make this beautiful book happen. There were some really great stories captured in there. If you are interested in picking one up, they are available at The Centre Shop.