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Making a 'bigger, better town'
Behchoko youth leads summer camp in community

Lyndsay Herman
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 12, 2013

Seventeen-year-old Clarence Mackenzie is set to graduate this year and when he talks about what he'd like to do next, it centres around what he can give back to his home community of Behchoko.

"I want to come back and help make (Behchoko) a bigger, better town," Mackenzie said, and he's laying the groundwork this summer by helping take care of the community's youth.

Mackenzie currently works for both the Tlicho Government and the Community Government of Behchoko and was asked by his employers if he'd be interested in helping out with the programs and activities they run.

"It seemed like something I'd like to do," he said. "I enjoy it.

"My favourite job is working with the kids because you get to take them to the playground and to the fun things like that. But some days, it can be challenging."

As long as the youth are entertained and there's no fighting, the job can be pretty fun, he said.

Mackenzie has been helping run the children's summer day camp at the arbour in Behchoko.

In addition to running games such as capture the flag, Mackenzie also picks up snacks, water and juice to hand out to children, along with other youth who may be there to help him run the camp.

Other jobs he's done include working at the canteen in the cultural centre and helping with a handgames tournament at the beginning of the month.

While the camp runs all summer long, last week, the camp was also a place where youth could play games, get snacks, and be supervised by a team of youth leaders while their family members attended the Tlicho Annual Gathering and Third Tlicho Assembly at Elizabeth Mackenzie School from Aug. 6 to 8.

Mackenzie said the gathering had brought in a lot of people from outside of the community making for a busy week for everyone in Behchoko.

The summer camp is open from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and will wrap up next week.

While the job is something he enjoys for now, Mackenzie said he has his sights set on studying political science at the post-secondary level after he graduates.

The field was recommended by his uncle, who had studied the subject himself.

Mackenzie said the subject will help him get a job with the Tlicho Government or the Community Government of Behchoko where he will have the opportunity to make a difference in his community.

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