Aboriginal Next Steps: Skeetchestn

Youth participant quotes:

Rounded Rectangular Callout: What did you learn at today's event? 'The increase and decrease of the actions of Aborginal youth.

Adult participant quote:

What did you like most about today's event?

"The interactive activity the youth got to do. It was all hands on learning. The perfect opportunity to express themselves"

Skeetchestn's youth created their actions plans on September 24, 2008. They made three working groups: 1) Substance Use & Abuse 2) Physical & Emotional Health and 3) Marginalized (street-involved) youth. After developing their community action plans, they organized themselves into the first two topics to create films.

Overall, a common theme among the groups was a tremendous dedication to creating more activities that support youth in making healthier choices and a drug & alcohol free / safe place that included an adult support they could talk to.

The Film Premiere & Community Dialogue night was hosted in the centre of the Skeetchestn community. The youth did an amazing job of presenting their films and talking about their community actions plans. They are a very thoughtful and heartfelt group; I can't wait to see what they create next!

Group 1: Substance Use and Abuse

This group chose this topic after learning that fewer Aboriginal youth across BC are drinking alcohol and there is a decrease among Aborignal youth using most illegal drugs. This groups wants to encourage good decision-making in their community by providing a safe, fun, drug & alcohol free enironment for youth.

Research to Action Plan:

  • Our community goal is...To reduce the use of substances.
  • If we had up to $5000, our activity/project would be To get a youth centre and more activities for youth.
  • Describe what you would do...We would have a TV to watch movies, play games, hang out in a good environment.
  • In what ways would your project improve community health? (think about protective factors) Our project would improve community health because youth would be around good people, doing fun things and making better choices. Therefore they would have better relationships with their parents, other family members and friends. The centre would be a safe place for youth to talk to adults.
  • Who/What would you need to get involved? We would need the help of our community, youth for their ideas and youth instructors to help set it up.

Group 2: Marginalized/Street-involved Youth

Research to Action Plan:

  • Our community goal is...To make a place to go and hang out!
  • If we had up to $5000, our activity/project would be To make a place where youth can go and feel comfortable and safe.
  • Describe what you would do... We would make activities so they won't be bored and on the streets. Make it a safe place and as comfy as possible.
  • In what ways would your project improve community health? (think about protective factors) It would help by keeping youth out of trouble and in a safe place. It would keep them from turning to drugs and alcohol. They can also be there to talk to a counsellor if there's a problem.
  • Who/What would you need to get involved? The band office, community members, friends and family.

This group reflected on the number one reason noted by marginalized youth for why they reported hanging out on the streets: that's where their friends are. Their action plan highlights the importance of having a safe place with supportive friends and adults and how much this can make a difference in youths' lives.

Groups 1& 2 worked together to create this film

"Puppy Love"

  • Kay-Lei
  • Eden.
  • Keishya
  • Megan

Group 3: Physical & Emotional Health

Although physical and sexual abuse has steadily declined during the past decade, 20% of Aborginal youth still reported being physically abused. Research demonstrates that youth who feel connected and safe at home, at school and in their community have better overall health, take fewer risks and have higher educational aspirations. In this group, the main topic of discussion was the importance of providing a safe place and safe adults for youth who are facing drugs, alcohol, and/or abuse at home.

Research to Action Plan:

  • Our community goal is...To prevent abuse.
  • If we had up to $5000, our activity/project would be A youth group / safe place.
  • Describe what you would do...Radio station, recording, cooking, pottery, metal work, music, counselling.
  • In what ways would your project improve community health? (think about protective factors) Provides a safe place to make new friends, create skills and help the community.
  • Who/What would you need to get involved? Youth, counsellors, professionals, and other people with skills.

"Slapped High"

  • Bob
  • Onions
  • Cory