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Learning to handle the environment

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Thursday, October 04, 2007

Inuvik - Girls from the youth centre went on a camping trip to Campbell Lake earlier this month for a weekend of bonding.

Youth centre director Joanna Lehrer said the trip to the Gwich'in Territorial Campground was a good chance for the girls to talk and build strong friendships.

NNSL photo

A group of girls went on a camping trip with the Inuvik Youth Centre earlier this month. The two-day excursion had the youth learning skills outdoors and canoeing with their friends. - Dez Loreen/NNSL photo

"We called it a young woman empowerment trip," said Lehrer.

Lehrer said the group of 14 girls went out for the two-day trip not knowing what to expect.

"They were aged 8-15," she said.

Lehrer said the trip went well and the girls learned how to handle themselves in a camping environment.

"Some of the girls made a fire for the first time," she said.

"We also went on the lake with some canoes."

They did everything as a group, said Lehrer.

"We had the girls making their own tents, working with each other to make their own food and clean after themselves," she said.

One of the goals of the trip was to get away from town and be in a quiet place, where the girls could talk and share their experiences.

"We got to do a lot of talking," said Lehrer.

The group left after school on Sept. 14 and returned on Sunday afternoon.

Lehrer hopes that the girls have learned a lot from the experience.

"I hope they had a lot of fun and excitement with the trip," she said.

"I also hope they brought back a feeling of strength."

Neta Allen was one of the participants who was excited to be on the trip with her friends.

One of the trips' projects had the girls write papers on their experience and what they learned from it.

Christina Thrasher and Monica Bonnetplume wrote that they were happy to be canoeing and swimming.

The camping trip is the latest of activities on the long list of events that have been happening at the centre.

"We've brought in groups to watch movies about women empowerment, there have been other outdoor activities as well," said Lehrer.

"We're arming these girls with leadership skills that they can bring into their lives and share with their friends."