Summer literacy camps for Indigenous kids get funding in 14 Alberta communities

The Alberta government is investing $1.6 million to support summer literacy camps for Indigenous kids across the province.

Province commits $1.6M over 3 years for camps organized by Frontier College

Alberta Education Minister David Eggen meets campers in the Frontier College summer literacy camp at Tsuut’ina Nation on Thursday (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

The Alberta government is investing $1.6 million to support summer literacy camps for Indigenous kids across the province.

The camps will be offered to Indigenous students in 14 communities this summer through Frontier College, a national literacy organization.

"Our government is committed to protecting and improving education and closing the achievement gap for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students," said Education Minister David Eggen, who announced the funding at the Tsuu T'ina Junior and Senior High School Thursday morning.

"Supporting Frontier College's highly successful summer literacy camp program means more children in Alberta can build their literacy and numeracy skills over the summer months."

The Tsuu T’ina Junior and Senior High School is one of 14 locations where Indigenous kids are being offered summer literacy camps put on by Frontier College. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

The three-year funding also features year-round literacy programs in five of the camp communities during the school year.

The camp counsellors will help students, parents and elders expand their vocabularies and foster a love of reading through storytelling, group reading, arts and crafts, and cultural activities, the province says.

The province says the camps help hundreds of students build literacy and numeracy skills that will help them succeed and keep them learning over the summer months. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"Our camps incorporate fun activities that help children foster a love of reading and give them the confidence they need to do well in school," said Richard Harvey, regional manager for Frontier College.

The camps are being offered in these Alberta communities:

  • July 4-21: Fort Chipewyan
  • July 10-28: Peerless Trout First Nation
  • July 24 to Aug. 11: Little Buffalo
  • July 10-28: Gift Lake Metis Settlement
  • July 10-28: Kapawe'no First Nation/Grouard
  • July 10-28: Wabasca – Bigstone Cree First Nation
  • July 10-28: Wabasca – St. Theresa School
  • July 10-28: Peavine Metis Settlement
  • July 10-28: Paul Band First Nation 
  • July 10-28: Maskwacis – Ermineskin First Nation 
  • July 10-28: Maskwacis – Samson First Nation
  • July 17 to Aug. 4: Beaver Lake First Nation
  • July 17-28: Tsuu T'ina First Nation
  • July 10-21 and July 31 to Aug. 4: Janvier – Prairie Chipewyan First Nation
  • July 10-28: Conklin
  • Aug. 14 to Sept. 1: Heart Lake First Nation

The camp program started in northern Ontario in 2005 to help students keep up their learning between school years. It has since expanded to more than 140 communities across Canada.

Promoting Indigenous language learning 

Earlier this week, the province announced a $665,000 grant to train more teachers in order to boost Indigenous language education in communities across Alberta.

The Canadian Indigenous Language and Literacy Development Institute at the University of Alberta will use the money to train teachers in Indigenous language instruction through online courses and community-based programs.

"Studies show learning and having the ability to speak an Indigenous language increases academic success for students and strengthens the connection between Indigenous people and their culture," said Education Minister David Eggen.

"As we work to protect and improve education for all Alberta students, this investment will help us revitalize and preserve Indigenous languages that are at risk."