WCST, Youth Leaders, SM-Culture and Language, and Menikanaekem have partnered up to host our second annual Youth Wellness Summit. This year’s focus is suicide prevention and youth leadership development. First Nations worldview and knowledge are critical to growing wellness across the lifespan; with wellness defined as a balance of Mind, Body, Spirit, and Emotion. The outcomes of wellness in each of these four quadrants are: Hope, Meaning, Belonging, and Purpose. To combat the youth suicide epidemic, this summit will focus on celebrating life, utilizing first nations tools, connecting to land, language, and lineage, and leave youth with tools to help others in their community struggling with thoughts of suicide.
Connecting to Land
Rough Camping is available on the grounds, all sessions will be held in the teaching lodge, and traditional foods will be served. “Indigenous identity and relationship is defined by the land and the connection to the natural world.” Youth will have time to reconnect to the Earth with outcomes of: coping skills, relationship building, healthy eating (food is medicine), and sense of purpose. De-colonized foods contribute to overall health and wellness, as well as form First Nations identity, teachings about our original foods will be shared during the summit and will be served with traditional feast protocols.
We will gather to share our talents, laughter, original teachings, songs, and social dance! We will host a talent show Friday evening, after a feast and quick run through of what to expect for the weekend. As First Nations peoples we regard all peoples and creation as relatives, we will focus on strengthening relationships with ourselves and to each other. This re-enforces mental and emotional health, by creating belonging; understanding we are all “responsible for maintaining good and harmonious relationships within the “extended” family.”
We are investing in our youth! Youth leaders are helping to organize the youth summit, will lead breakout sessions, recruit volunteers and helpers, and learn how to promote wellness through Frist Nations perspectives. Youth leaders will strengthen organizational skills, public speaking, group facilitation, positive risk taking and coping skills, identity and purpose. Participating youth will leave with suicide prevention skills, toolkits to help organize and promote wellness in their home community, healthy relationship building, creating safe spaces, mindfulness techniques, and connecting to original culture through land, language, and lineage.