Thunder Bay

Lac La Croix 'Dream Team' sets sights on west coast

A group of students from the First Nations community of Lac La Croix in northwestern Ontario are doing everything they can to make their dream of travelling to Canada's west coast a reality.

'It's something to really look forward to, something new, something exciting, something to inspire us'

The 'Lac La Croix Youth Dream Team' is trying to raise close to $50, 000 for a trip to the west coast. (www.gofundme.com)

A week-long trip to Vancouver, B.C. may seem like a modest goal, but for 15 high school students from the tiny First Nations community of Lac La Croix in northwestern Ontario, it really could be a dream come true. 

The students — many of whom have never left Ontario, flown on an airplane, or seen the ocean — have dubbed themselves the "Lac Lacroix Dream Team," and they're doing everything in their power to make it to the west coast.

It all began when a guest speaker visited their school, and asked the teens to share their dreams, said teacher Brittany Kennedy. Not one student had a response. It was a telling moment that inspired the students to create a dream of their own. 

"It's something to really look forward to, something new, something exciting, something to inspire us,"  said student Miles Jourdain, who says he has plans to see a hockey game, go skydiving and go whale watching in Vancouver. 

"I just think it's an amazing dream."

The students decided on Vancouver because they wanted to see the Ocean and the forest on the west coast, and have the opportunity to learn about coastal indigenous communities, said Kennedy. 

Fundraising efforts in full gear 

The small community doesn't offer many job opportunities for teens, so the students are relying on fundraising to raise the money they need to make their dream a reality, including a Go Fund Me campaign. 

The students have also shoveled driveways, organized a cribbage tournament, and even braved frigid temperatures to set up a "toll booth" on a local bridge to collect donations, said Kennedy. 

"You know, our kids go home at the end of the evening, and they're tired from working really hard," she said.

Kennedy said they still have a long way to go to meet their fundraising goal, but she believes the students are up for the challenge. 

Students from Lac La Croix High School have been shovelling driveways, organizing events, and collecting donations online so that they can go on a trip. For many of them, it will be their first opportunity to travel outside of the province. (www.gofundme.com)

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