The BYTE team is back with a brand new blog, BYTE is back, tell a friend.

BYTE has kept a low profile lately as we were planning for the Leaders-in-Training Retreat and took time after the event to rest. We are currently putting the final touches on our  reports and editing pictures from the retreat, already reminiscing about the good times and highlights. This made me want to share those moments with you in a TOP FIVE BEST MOMENTS OF L-I-T. 

FIVE. 

We rented out equipment to play Archery Tag  from the Fun & Games organization in Whitehorse which included full face masks, bows, arrows (with rubber rounded end- not actual arrows) and some targets. Youth enjoyed the fresh air and eliminating one another, lots of laughter shared from everyone, people falling due to the icy terrain. Meanwhile, in the main hall we had Arctic Sports Circle teach us some Arctic Sports and Dene Games. Youth practiced some head pulls, stick pulls, slippery stick, Alaskan high kicks, handgames and others that brought a few of us to sweat. It was super interesting to hear from the youth and the Grand Chief Peter Johnston about the origin of all the games. 

Playing Archery Tag in the field

FOUR.

The Leaders-in -Training had the pleasure to greet the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, Peter Johnston and hear about his journey. We had just completed a body-mapping activity with Bobbi-Rose Koe, reflecting on where we come from, where we want to go, different leadership skills we have and want, which went hand-in-hand with the discussion with the Grand Chief. That morning was definitely a highlight for me as a facilitator because there was so much growth in the room. The youth displayed their vulnerability on their paper-traced body, mentioning that they want to further their education, travel, live on the land. Youth expressed wanting to improve their public-speaking skills, gain confidence, be more patient and more. Youth reflected on their passions and their dreams which was inspiring to see. Peter Johnston then shared his story and validated the value and purpose of the previous activity. 

Listening to Grand Chief Peter Johnston

THREE. 

Everybody LOVES Blake Lepine. Blake arrived a little earlier than planned and while we were doing other programming, he was carving a bowl – just to pique our interest! It was easy to see how talented and humble he was while carving and listening at the back of the room. He then gathered everyone in a circle and taught the group about herbal medicine. The youth were clearly attentive to the knowledge Blake shared and genuinely curious about this topic. He blew more than a few minds with his way of thinking and beliefs. Afterwards, he stuck around to teach a native art workshop in which he added his own unique perspective to this specific art form. 

Art workshop with Blake Lepine

TWO. 

On Saturday evening, we went to the Da Kų cultural centre in Haines Junction to enjoy a potlatch. Some youth helped serve some food, fill plates for Elders and others connected with their community. It was beautiful to see so many people gathered together to celebrate the fact that the Kohklux Map was in town for its 150th anniversary. The Kohklux Map was drawn in 1869, one of the oldest map of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations traditional territory (dakeyi). Other than the timing being a great opportunity to add history to our Leaders in Training programming it was an awesome celebration joined by the Dakwäkäda dancers. Some of the youth joined the celebration by dancing, some were participating from a distance, another youth was practicing a new found hobby- photography. I can’t speak for everyone that was present but I can say that my heart was full after the event, and so it was for multiple people to whom I talked to on the way back to Klukshu. 

Sharing moves at the Da Ku Cultural Centre

ONE. 

Relationships. Connections. Sharing stories. Laughter. Smiles. Learning from one another. That was most definitely the highlight of my weekend. Watching youth build relationships. In the evening we would make a fire and people would gather around and shared some stories, drummed around the fire pit. Other people gathered inside and played some games in the comfortably warm main hall. 

Sharing stories and drumming around the fire

Overall, this year’s Leaders in Training hosted on the amazing traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations was one to remember. This was my first time facilitating this kind of event and I’m looking forward to doing it again in the upcoming year. Thank you to everyone who was involved, BYTE works behind the scenes to organize everything but, you guys make it happen. 

Thank you