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Outland Camps Celebrates 14th Annual Closing Ceremonies of the First Nations Youth Program

August 2013

Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Mines and Development, on hand to assist with presentations.

 Michael Gravelle + Anna Black

(Minister of Northern Mines and Development, Michael Gravelle assists with presentation to 2nd Year Student, Anna Black, of Wahgoshig First Nation while Thunder Bay Acting Mayor, Andrew Foulds and Outland Camps Program Supervisor/Teacher, Anya Sheibmayr look on.)

On August 15th the 14th Annual First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program (FNNRYEP) Closing Ceremonies and Graduation took place in the Spirit Garden at Thunder Bay's spectacular new Prince Arthur's Landing.  It was a glorious day! Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Mines and Development, was on hand to assist with presentations.   

Fort William First Nation Elder Rita Fenton opened the Ceremony with a prayer and welcomed 180 participants and guests to the Traditional Territory of the Fort William First Nation.  In a very special gesture of thanks, the Lac Lacroix First Nation provided its 200 year old drum for the ceremony. The Lac Lacroix drum group called Painted Rock, led by Chief Norman Jordan, performed the Pipe Song, Graduation Song and the Travelling Song.  Two of Painted Rock's drummers are FNNRYEP participants making the performance even more powerful. 

30 high school aged First Nations youth from communities across northern Ontario received graduation certificates for completion of the First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program summer camp.  The program is delivered by Outland Camps on behalf of Proponent, Confederation College and core funding partner, the Government of Ontario.   Outland Camps has delivered this program for all 14 years of the program.

Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle, joined Industry, Commercial, Educational, and First Nations partners, families and friends in celebrating the accomplishments of the 30 graduates who represented 18 communities from across Northern Ontario.  

The six-week employment and training program takes place at Outland Camps Firesteel location just west of Upsala, ON.  Students are introduced to natural resources management through Science Camp at Confederation College, Mining Matters week, tours of forest industry and mining operations, job skills training, and various work projects including pre-commercial thinning with brush saw and tree planting.  Each participant can earn up to 2 high school co-op credits through a unique educational partnership between the program and the Long Lake 58 Education Authority. 

On the cohesiveness of the 2013 camp, Outland Cam,ps owner/manager, Dave Bradley, responsible for the program since its inception in 2000 observes, "This year's group representing so many communities were an awesome mix of personalities that came together very much like a family…. The tears and hugs at the closing and graduation ceremony spoke volumes."

Bradley goes on to say, "By providing a welcoming and respectful live-in camp environment we are able to create a very positive day-to-day work routine and teamwork atmosphere.  It's a place for youth to practice being an employee in a work camp environment or being a student living away from home.  Camp life teaches independence and self-sufficiency.  It's also a place where, through day-time and evening programming, we can pack-in a lot of work, learning and fun!" 

The structure and great mentorship provided by Outland Camps staff helps students grow, learn to lead and prepare to make those critical decisions that will set their life's course. 

"Our whole mission is to help the youth build confidence and find inspiration to stick to the educational path," Bradley said. "In today's world education is that critical piece that we need all youth to aspire to." 

Since 2000, the FNNRYEP has graduated 93% of its 295 participants originating from more than 45 Northern Ontario First Nation communities.  

FNR 2013 With Partners

(Group photo of 2013 FNNRYEP Graduates joined by Industry and Program partners, L to R: Rob Booth, Domtar Inc., Dave Bradley, Outland Camps, Matt Lawrence, Outland Camps, Al Wilcocks, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources,  Steve Watson, Resolute Forest Products, Rohan Miller, Goldcorp)

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