Success Stories

Forest and the Femme- Outdoor Recreation Program for Marginalized Women

Forest and the Femme (FATF) is a non-profit outdoor recreation program for highly marginalized women living in Vancouver’s DTES community. We provide access to nature for the city’s most vulnerable and isolated women. Our goal is to facilitate a sense of freedom, empowerment and self worth through contact with nature, skill building and social engagement.

We believe that nature has the power to heal and transform, creating strengths that will carry throughout all aspects of our lives.

FATF prioritizes women with multiple, intersecting vulnerabilities including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), involvement in the survival sex trade, addictions, racial oppression, mental health, physical health and mobility barriers.

Many of the women who participate in Forest and the Femme have never had the opportunity to explore in nature. Some have never been out of the city before! It can be an insurmountable challenge even just leaving the neighbourhood. We are here to change that. The dedicated volunteers at Forest and the Femme are themselves outdoor lovers and know first hand the powerful and healing effect that nature has on us. We believe that nature helps us connect to ourselves and gives us the strength to face our challenges.

Hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, camping, swimming & caves; we do all of it. Together we explore, we share, and we teach and learn.

Traditional Knowledge / Skills

The Hamlet of Chesterfield Inlet - Justice Committee is seeking funding to implement a program to teach youth traditional knowledge and skills and to provide them with a sense of connection to their culture. Elders and project staff will teach the youth valuable orientation skills, hunting and fishing skills, as well as, other survival skills needed to establish a camp. Elders will also teach the youth about the dangers of the ice by season, and how to locate and prepare any edible vegetation available in the region. These skills will be taught on the land during a 2-day trip. While on the land, the participants will learn how to build Igloos, which will be used as lodging for the night. The goal of this project is twofold; first, it aims to provide youth in the community with meaningful activities, and secondly, by providing youth with an opportunity to learn about their traditional values, this will contribute to preventing youth related criminal activity in the community.


FitNation incorporates a series of dynamic stretching exercises that are fun, adaptable to any fitness level, and presented in an easy-to-use workout format specifically designed to increase physical activity in Aboriginal communities and Friendship Centres across BC.

The program was developed by the Partners Council in affiliation with Nike N7 and Dwayne Roberts, a certified Nike Sparq trainer. The exercises encompassed within the FitNation program can be modified for three basic fitness levels

  • Introductory
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

The FitNation leader training process differs from the other Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities leader training as there is an application and selection process. Selection is based on other training experience, which includes certification in personal training, coaching certification, and/or experience with delivering other types of fitness and physical activity programs.

Honour Your Health Challenge

The Honour Your Health Challenge (HYHC) is a 6 week community-based program that encourages innovation and needs-based approaches to promoting healthy, active lifestyles in First Nations, Métis Chartered Communities, and Aboriginal Friendship Centres throughout the province.  Some examples of HYHC programs include traditional dance off competitions and classes, nutrition awareness & introductions to new foods, sports camps, tobacco reduction education and support programs, etc.

As part of the Regional Leaders Training Conferences, the Partners Council delivers a series of workshops to prepare HYHC Community Leaders for their role in planning and delivering their own 6-week community-based project. Community projects will promote healthy life choices in the areas of increased physical activity, healthy eating, reduction of tobacco misuse, and healthy pregnancies.

2014 Workshops  included:

  • Traditional Health
  • Holistic Model for Wellness
  • Fit Camps /  Yoga / Nordic Walking
  • Nutrition and Traditional Foods
  • Men’s Health
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Planning, Implementing and Evaluating

Some examples of HYHC projects include:

  • Afterschool youth groups including culture & physical activities
  • Tobacco awareness & alternatives
  • Girls fitness, including emotional wellbeing & nutrition
  • Boys fitness through cultural activities, hunting, snowshoeing, and berry picking
  • Healthy eating and traditional diets
  • Community no soda pop challenge

Initiative for Security of Women and Girls

The Ochapowace First Nation is seeking funding to engage various community stakeholders in the research, development and implementation of a specific training package for improving the personal security of women and girls. This program, when implemented, will serve to increase protective factors and reduce victimization of girls and women. This will be achieved through the facilitation of survey to gather community input on existing priorities and necessary tools to meet this goal. Then, a training package will be developed based on the results questionnaire. This training package will then be used to train community members that act as front line workers for victims of abuse. Those trained will include teachers, health centre staff, youth workers, elders and community leaders. At the end of the project, the manual developed will be finalized after an evaluation, and distributed throughout the community. This manual will serve as a reference for dealing with situations of victimization of women and girls in the future.

Aboriginal RunWalk Program

The Aboriginal RunWalk program improves the health and fitness of members of the Aboriginal communities in British Columbia by implementing a comprehensive program consisting of leadership training and province-wide RunWalk training opportunities leading up to participation in a 10K event and/or distance.

Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program

An Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Program has been initiated by a group of mountain bike enthusiasts to support and encourage Aboriginal youth and communities to participate and excel in the sport of mountain biking.

The program started in response to a growing interest among a number of First Nation communities to support and encourage their youth to get outdoors, reconnect with nature and live healthier active lives through mountain biking. The program is also intended to assist First Nation communities, with a strong focus on youth, to become more involved in the development of trails and recreation opportunities and the mountain bike tourism industry.

The Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Program is a group of mountain bike riders, coaches and community leaders who wish to support and encourage Aboriginal youth and communities to participate and excel in the sport of mountain biking.

Mountain biking has enjoyed remarkable growth over the past several decades and BC has is known around the world for its substantial trail networks, skills parks and events and festivals.

The Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Program is committed to supporting and encouraging youth and First Nation communities to get outdoors, reconnect with nature and live healthier active lives.  

We’ll partner with community councils, tribal council or Aboriginal non-profit societies and agencies; any group with an interest and commitment to improving recreational opportunities for Aboriginal youth.In order for our program to be effective and successful, we seek communities that are prepared to commit to the program with some of the following resources:

Community Champion – Someone or some people who are committed to the program and are interested in coordinating and becoming ride leaders for youth in their community. Our role is to provide your community with the training and to assist you in running your own mountain bike youth program

Interested Youth – In order to establish a youth program in a community, it is important that there is a sufficient number of youth available who are interested in the program. The objective of our program is to work with communities to establish programs for their youth. We do not provide training or instruction for individual youth members or groups outside of an established community program.

Land & Trails – Does your community have land or trails available for mountain biking? Is there a space that the community would donate for a bike park or for building trails? Do you have a community centre or space that could be used for operating a mountain bike youth program?

Equipment – Does your community have heavy machinery such as an excavator or bob cat that can be used for building a bike park or trails?

 Volunteers – Are there members of your community who will be willing and able to volunteer their time to building bike parks, trails and working with the youth on mountain bike initiatives. Volunteers are a critical part of a successful program.

Support from your leadership & community members – Is your leadership aware of mountain biking and supportive of the idea of developing a youth mountain bike program? How about the members of your community? Is there support for bike parks, trail developments and mountain biking? Support from the community is also a critical part of developing a successful program.

Funding – Though a mountain bike program is a fairly low cost program, it does cost some money to develop bike parks, trails and to purchase bikes and equipment for the youth. There are a number of funding opportunities that can be pursued to support a program in your community. Our team of expert fundraisers and grant writers are prepared to work with your community to identify and pursue the necessary funding. However, it is critical that your community is prepared to contribute some funds to show funding sources that you’re serious and committed to the project.

Taking Action in our Community to Change Attitudes

This group will establish programs for children and youth. With the assistance of seniors in the community, various activities will be designed to promote positive and healthy lifestyles, reduce the incidence of youth crime and provide prevention education.

Iniqitirijiit Community Justice Committee-Connecting with Our Youth

Adults and Elders will serve as mentors in teaching traditional life skills and values to youth between seven and twenty-five. The project will use an approach that focuses on the Inuit’s rich culture to bring people together in the community to discuss problems, needs, and resources.

Crime Prevention through Traditional Skills

The main goals ar to deliver a multi-faceted crime prevention program based on gender specific traditional skills to both youth and adults and to provide traditional intervention and healing to assist families. Inuit adults and Elders will teach youth the unique features of their culture and natural environment.

Siku Project (Sea Ice Knowledge and Use)

The goal of the project is to provide youth in the community with the opportunity to connect with the elders and to learn tradition hunting and survival skills. This will be accomplished through several activities. The sponsor is planning to take youth (aged 12 and over) on a 5 day seal hunting trip. During this experience, the youth will learn traditional methods of survival on the land, which includes learning how to build igloos, hunting skills, and how to dress the game. To compliment these efforts, the sponsor will implement other activities in the community, which include a tool making program, a throatsinging program, and a sewing program. All of these programs will be 10 weeks in length and classes will be held twice a week. Finally, the sponsor will establish a qamotik program for the youth. During these program the youth will learn how to build qamotiks, and how to run a dog-team. This program will run for 10 weeks as well, with classes held 3 times a week. By learning these skills, the youth will be able to participate in recreational events, and be able to pass on their skills to other interested youth. Overall, through the various activities, the program will provide the youth with many transferable skills, provide the elders with an opportunity to pass on their skills and mentor the youth, as well as, providing the youth with meaningful alternatives to criminal behaviour.

Strengthening Our Circle

The project consists of two major components dedicated to strengthening the resilience of preschool children and youth. The project will benefit from the existing supports located within schools and communities to form a strong support system for children and youth. The first component will adapt several key modules of a promising practice titled Together We Light the Way. Modules delivered during this first component will include: Respect, Circles of Love: Reading Together, Choice is Yours, Triple S, Healthy Happenings, Parent Rap, and, Connections: Classroom and Community.

The Strengthening Our Circle: A Model of Community Support project will adapt pieces of the above promising practice and its modules and shape it into the traditional First Nation Teepee Pole Teachings. Modules will be created for each school within the Assiniboine Valley District and will be based on promoting respect and providing a positive social environment. Both Seniors and Elders will be involved in the project with the intention of promoting intergenerational respect. The Teepee Pole Teachings represent the fourteen values that promote good health, productivity and a positive lifestyle. These include: Obedience, Respect, Humility, Happiness, Love, Faith, Kinship, Cleanliness, Thankfulness, Share, Strength, Good child rearing, Hope, and Ultimate Protection.

The project will also utilize the First Nation Medicine Wheel concept ensuring that all four domains (leadership, mental, physical and emotional) are incorporated to achieve a balanced and successful program. The second main component is a Summer Institute to be held each year in August in a different community. The Summer Institute will focus on youth who will be attending grade nine in September. The Institute will provide an opportunity for youth to experience a different culture and express ideas on a variety of issues using creative expression. More importantly, it will provide students with a vehicle to shift from the theory introduced throughout the previous year during Component One and put these theories into practice in a meaningful way.

Learning Traditional Skills

Community elders will adopt the role of cultural teachers to pass on traditional knowledge and skills to youth as a means of strengthening their sense of belonging to the Inuit community.

Safe Passages : M’Chigeeng

The Two Bears Cultural Survival Group project will organize and facilitate a youth driven Crime Prevention committee composed mostly of youth but also involving elders and representation from local service providers, agencies and businesses. Under the direction of a Project Coordinator and Project Technician the Crime Prevention committee will conduct a needs assessment of the M’Chigeeng youth population. The needs assessment will identify high-risk activities / conditions influencing local youth and develop an inventory of existing programs and services available to support their needs. Businesses and agencies will be canvassed to raise awareness of the project and to solicit their input, support and assistance to ensure its success.

Circle Project Children's Centre Afterschool

The Circle Project Children's Centre is a unique facility that was specifically designed for children. We offer a safe, happy and enriching environment where children are viewed as resourceful, competent people.

The Centre is a fully subsidized childcare licensed by the Child Care Division of Saskatchewan Community Resources and Employment. We can accommodate 65 children between the ages of 18 months and 12 years on a daily basis. Ten of our spaces are available to provide respite daycare services for parents attending treatment programs, requiring temporary respite or in a crisis situation.

We are also a KidsFirst site and have ten spaces designated for that program. We are open Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Children attending our program are provided with a nutritious breakfast, hot lunch and an afternoon snack. We also transport children to and from schools in the immediate area of our Centre.

To assist the program participants in their personal growth and healthy lifestyles, individuals had the opportunity to participate in personal, educational, social and cultural activities. These activities included guest speakers, educational tours and recreation activities. Program participants attended tours at the University of Regina, SIAST, SUNTEP, FNUC, Royal Saskatchewan
Museum, and the Mackenzie Art Gallery. Participants also attended Career Fairs at Conexus Arts Centre, University of Regina and Stepping Stones.

To promote healthy balance and as a positive way to relieve stress, participants had the opportunity on Friday afternoons to partake in afternoon recreational activities which included walks in Wascana Park, mini-golf, playing pool, bowling, games
and movies. Unfortunately, the karaoke afternoon did not produce any Canadian Idols … maybe next year!

For further information, contact Bonnie Day at 569-3988.

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