Our original goal was to volunteer in the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina. However Habitat for Humanity turned us down because we were too young at the time. After that we as a group decided to apply to assist with Red Feather, which is a non-profit organization created to build homes for Native American Elders. We as youth were denied because of our age. Our third application was to join Pulling Together; a canoe journey that brought aboriginal youth and the police force together.
The first year we attended this journey hosted by Pulling Together was in 2007. We were the largest youth group without a canoe. As a result we were placed on a 25 foot canoe, called the Spirit Dancer. Later on that year Chris Cooper invited us to paint traditional images on the Spirit Dancer before it was shipped to the UK.
Furthermore we began to start fundraising to acquire our own canoe. The RCMP was so impressed with our pursuit in this endeavour that they surprised us with a donation, which we used to find a canoe of our own.
In return we are committed to speak with other youth about pursuing their goals, because we feel that many youth do not feel empowered to set their own goals and reach them. Our experience has demonstrated that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
We speak at youth conferences on anything from canoeing, building a successful youth group, to the importance of personal health and nutrition. This past year we did a presentation at the Diversity in Policing workshop held in Burnaby, British Columbia about the value we received from being in this group and the support we receive from each other.
Currently we are planning two large journeys for 2009. One will be here in the Okanagan; we will assist the RCMP with the process of bringing Pulling Together to the Okanagan as well as hosting the journey while it is in our jurisdiction.
Our other main event is to reconnect with the Spirit Dancer and Chris Cooper on Orkney Islands, in Scotland. There, we will canoe the island on a two week journey, meet with other youth and have cross cultural exchanges.