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Aboriginal Youth Soar at RRC’s H.A.W.K. Camp

August 12, 2011

Aboriginal youth aged 11 to 13 got their first taste of trades and technology programming, while participating in Red River College’s second annual Hands-On Activity Week for Kids (H.A.W.K.).

The five-day summer camp, which ran July 25 – 29, blended cultural programming, recreation time and team-building exercises with hands-on activities and games that introduced them to such skilled trades- and technology-related programs as Construction Trades, Electronics, Mechanical Engineering Technology/Manufacturing, Aviation and Civil Engineering.

“Campers learned about Aboriginal culture through story-telling and drumming, while focusing on personal strengths,” said April Krahn, RRC’s Director of Aboriginal Student Support and Community Relations.

“In addition, they participated in five trades and technology programs through hands-on applied learning by building, soldering and wiring, to name a few. Red River College embraces our Aboriginal youth and welcomes the next seven generations!”

The H.A.W.K. camp is offered at no charge to 16 participants, each of whom also receives bus tickets, a camp T-shirt and daily lunch and snacks. The five-day experience — which culminates with a celebratory barbecue for campers, their families and friends — drew raves from parents, among them Arlene Flatfoot-Beaulieu, whose son is about to enter Grade Seven.

“Thank you so much for having such an awesome summer camp, and for giving my son such a wonderful experience,” said Flatfoot-Beaulieu. “He was so proud of being First Nations, and he said that he felt so comfortable with everyone. He said, ‘That was the fastest I ever made so many friends!’ The best part for me was he came home every day with a different hands-on project! … I wish more First Nations children could experience camps such as this.”

Click here for more information about Red River College’s H.A.W.K. camp.

Parent Testimonial: 

“HAWK has been a wonderful, enriching experience for my son Ryley.  Ryley tends to be less than confident in his abilities, and it prevents him from trying things. Therefore the opportunity to return the second year was invaluable for Ryley.

He thoroughly enjoyed the first year, but more for the “social” opportunities and the teachings.  Due to his lack of confidence, Ryley felt that he was the “worst” at all of the career exploring activities that they engaged in.  The longer he waits to try something, the less able he is in areas where his peers are beginning to specialize, and the more prone he becomes to negative peer pressure, and bullying.

Having the benefit of coming back the second year, I really noticed a difference in Ryley’s confidence levels (even when a project or two didn’t exactly have productive results!).  He spent a lot more time talking about the “hands-on” activities they did this year, and now seems a lot less reluctant to at least try different things.

According to him, he still needs to find his “geek”, but programs like HAWK are a much needed tool to inspire children/youth while they are at this pivotal stage of their lives, to allow them to think about and explore the positive opportunities available to them.

AND –  our family LOVES the fact that although the program is only one week (too short!), we have an opportunity to gather for a meal and celebrate the journey the group has gone through together!”

– Cassandra Houle