Yukon First Nations-RCMP Youth of the Yukon Canoe River trip
14 days, 14 First Nations, 1 epic adventure
In the spirit of the continuation of reconciliation with Yukon First Nations communities, Yukon RCMP collaborated with Dinjii Zhuh Adventures to deliver a culturally relevant 14-day youth canoe experience on the Yuk Han-Yukon River.
Our policing journey in the Yukon is about establishing and maintaining respectful relationships," said Staff Sergeant Jonathan Saxby. "
The 2022 Yukon First Nations-RCMP Youth of the Yukon Canoe River trip and Indigenous Youth Outreach programs demonstrate the kind of relationships with communities we want to build for the future. The opportunities are as much about creating a safe space for youth to be heard as they are about the lessons and self-determination being experienced."
Dawson City welcomed the participants of the 2022 Yukon First Nations-RCMP Youth of the Yukon Canoe River Trip in a welcome home celebration to honour the tremendous achievement of the youth participants on our 14-day wilderness canoe trip. Chief Roberta Joseph, Mayor Bill Kendrick, counsellors and community alike attended the Dawson City Detachment for a lunch barbeque to celebrate the achievement of our young paddlers as they arrived in Dawson City in good spirts on August 26, 2022 to complete their journey and prepare for their travel back to their home communities.
The Yukon First Nations-RCMP Youth of the Yukon Canoe River trip develops skills and confidence for life. The trip traversed the Yukon River from Lake Laberge to Dawson City. Canoeing skills were taught at a progressive level with a focus on safety, fun skill development and appreciation for nature and the environment, while developing skills and self confidence. Participants caught glimpses of wildlife and enjoyed the astounding Yukon scenery of rarely seen areas of the Territory. The days could be long and arduous, but the rewards were evident in the smiles shared between new friends and new connections made with participating RCMP members on the trip and those who joined in along the way!
The Youth of the Yukon Canoe River Trip is the cornerstone activity of the Yukon RCMP's broader Indigenous Youth Outreach Program (IYOP), an RCMP youth engagement program in Yukon communities and schools for Yukon First Nation youths aged 13 to 17.
Our shift for Fall is to deliver the program in schools where students learn from Indigenous elders, community health and wellness services, and other positive role models. Students participate in experiential learning opportunities focused on exposing them to the RCMP and discussing important community safety-based issues in a positive and culturally empowering way. The IYOP will continue to build the confidence, critical thinking and leadership skills of youth. It is focused on promoting the development of relationships between community youth and the RCMP by storytelling and a bilateral exchange of knowledge. It celebrates Indigenous customs that are specific to community, practices and beliefs, and advances reconciliation.
My favorite thing about the trip was canoeing through the five finger rapids and learning about plants that could be used as medicine.
I have always wanted to do an adventure trip like this, braving the Yukon wilderness, sleeping under the stars, with the challenges that only the Yukon River could offer. But what I got was so much more: Connecting with the young beautiful souls that I got to know along the way, youth from the Yukon communities in which we serve. I was so very happy to be paddling with them, experiencing this special journey side by side… a delightful experience I will absolutely never forget. It was so very beautiful out there, and so was company. Thank Youth of the Yukon, for making my journey with you so enjoyable!
For me what it meant was to allow my son to experience the outdoors. He told me the trip seemed like it was only two days long. I had asked him if he seen any wildlife and he told me a couple of moose. He told me that they were averaging 60 km a day of canoeing at which point I told him that was impressive amount of distance travelled by canoe for a day. He asked me if I could take him and his sister up to Dawson for his birthday. It's been wonderful to see him get the chance to have him participate in such a special experience.
A big part of what this trip meant to me was making friends, another part was the clearfix instructions. My favourite experience was probably the five finger rapids though I wish it was longer. This opportunity meant to me that I got to learn a lot about paddling, and made a lot of friends. Thank you for an awesome trip.
The entire trip was awesome, pretty neat to travel on the police plane. Travel away from Old Crow for a couple weeks, the canoeing was awesome and seeing new places and meeting new people. Food was good, learned how to canoe properly and I learned a lot about drawing experiences from others during our down time on shore. The journey made me appreciate our ancestry and how travel and hunting has changed over the years.
It was a great opportunity and I appreciate Kayden being selected to participate. He developed new friends and relationships and it makes him appreciate our heritage and traditional ways of life. He learned a lot of life skills.
A tremendous opportunity for Adam to go, thank you for making it happen. I'm jealous of it!! I have never seen that much of the Yukon, it would have been beautiful. It's quite the experience, over 650+km travelled and being able to say "I did that". Learning a lot about himself and his skills, makes him appreciate the heritage and how our people would have travelled and hunted/fished and truly lived off of the land. No technology or GPS to help. I think Adam learned a lot about himself and had a lot of fun.
Traveling these rivers by canoe is such a big part of Gwitchin history. For Adam to be able to experience the Yukon River with an indigenous guide he really had a chance to be enveloped in his culture and a historic way of life. Adam came home excited to tell us all about his trip, his friends, and the things he learned. I really liked that the RCMP officer, Max, from our community was able to go with the boys. I think it helped build a connection between them which helps to build trust and help kids make good choices.Mahsi' Choo!
This was truly a journey in self-determination and perseverance. The trip was a journey for us as a people. Two-weeks was an accomplishment and the kids did not want to leave. The youth all clicked and we would sit with them and listen.
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