The Rise Up camp was a week-long camp in collaboration with Community Connections and Rise Up Indigenous Wellness Salmon Arm. The camp offered on land learning with key areas of exploration, including: connections to nature through indigenous worldview, social skill development, land stewardship and outdoor adventure activities. The camp focused on social/emotional learning and activities while incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing. In alignment with Community Connections commitment to prioritizing decolonizing and reconciliation practices, the Rise Up Camp provided culturally relevant and safe spaces for youth aged 6-11 to engage in meaningful ways to them. This year the camp had 9 youth participate and 6 Indigenous leaders. Each day the camp began with Circle Time, where the group would set daily intentions and do a smudge/Cedar brushing ceremony. Over the week, youth participated in activities such as guided meditations, making petroglyphs, traditional Indigenous games, drumming, nature collages, journaling, medicine walk, animal tracking, forest stories and more. Activities were done in various locations around Revelstoke, including Mt. Revelstoke National Park, Blanket Creek Provincial Park, Revelstoke Rec Centre and the Greenbelt/Centennial Park. Each day ended with a closing gratitude circle. Despite the high temperatures and bugs, the youth and leaders reported back each day with all smiles!
Rise Up Indigenous Wellness reached out in hopes of offering a camp in Revelstoke. Due to the associated costs, we sought out several grant opportunities. It was important that this camp was barrier free, therefore, at no cost to families. Through the Neighborhood Grant and the Revelstoke Credit Union donation, we were able to make this camp a reality. The camp was advertised to all three elementary schools in Revelstoke prior to school ending. This allowed us to reach all self-identified Indigenous families in the community to ensure the opportunity was available to all. Challenges which came up were last minute cancellations, heat, bugs and additional support needs. Several of the children who registered required additional support to be able to participate. With the support of the Supported Children Development program at Community Connections, we were able to provide a support worker to ensure it was inclusive to all children’s needs.
Families’ feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with a desire for more similar programming. In the spirit of indigenous culture, leaders were presented with a thank you gift at the end of camp.

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