British Columbia

Kelowna camp offers programming for Indigenous youth engagement

Campers work through various activities to support each other through dialogue, compassion and empathy.

IndigenEYEZ invites teens from seven First Nations to participate in arts and dialogue

Youth who participate in the camp have the opportunity to discuss their history, culture and future goals with elders and mentors in this 5-day program. (Kelly Terbasket)

First Nations youth from around the province will participate at Camp IndigenEYEZ at Camp Dunlop in Kelowna this week in a program designed to empower them through art, music, dance and dialogue. 

Camp manager Kelly Terbasket has organized 70 young people from seven different First Nations to take part in the program this year. 

​"Youth get the experience of using the arts to express themselves and come together over five days and build a community of support and encouragement," Terbasket told Daybreak South.

The purpose of the program, according to Terbasket, is to transform and empower communities, while "overcoming the history of the impacts of colonization and fragmentation of what has happened in our communities due to residential schools and some of the things of our recent past," she said.

Lateral violence is one of the issues that this programs hopes to tackle.

"Lateral violence is where we cut each other down, we don't support each other in what we're trying to do," Terbasket says. 

"It's like the metaphor of crabs in a bucket...where someone is trying to do something good and get out of the cycle of violence or addiction and the other people are uncomfortable with that so they pull each other down."

How art helps

The camp programming is designed using the Creative Community Model, developed by Partners for Youth Empowerment who have used this model for over 20 years all over the world.

"They [the founders] have brought it to British Columbia to share with First Nations people, so there is proven record of success," Terbasket says.

Terbasket has worked for her whole career within the community development sector and has seen first hand how the arts can empower youth by allowing them to express themselves.

"It [the program] helps us to learn how to communicate respectfully, with compassion and empathy and how to lift each other up and support each other," she says.

To hear the full interview, click: Kelowna camp empowers First Nations youth through art