Local youth are preparing to travel Okanagan Lake over five days.

Local youth are preparing to travel Okanagan Lake over five days.

Youth train for Okanagan Lake journey

The First Nations Friendship Centre and the Okanagan Indian Band are embarking on a joint venture

Canoes guided by indigenous youth will embark on a five-day journey across 114 kilometres of Okanagan Lake.

The First Nations Friendship Centre and the Okanagan Indian Band are embarking on a joint venture to host a canoe journey through Syilx territory starting in Penticton Aug. 28.

“The Truth Way Canoe Journey is an incredible summer cultural water transportation experience for youth that connects them to the local traditions of the Syilx people,” said Mariel Belanger, co-ordinator.

Funded by the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, the aim is to use land-based experiences to engage youth, men, women and families into thinking about their diverse roles in their communities through a Syilx perspective.

“Throughout the training and the journey, youth will participate in activities that develop critical awareness building and provide opportunities for authentic sharing and learning,” said Belanger.

“Participants will increase their resilience factors through meaningful experiences that strengthen relationships to land, water and each other.”

Stronger relationships with the RCMP and B.C. Parks is also part of the project. The RCMP have offered the use of safety vessels and locations in several B.C. Parks will be used as camp and launch sites.

A camp leader canoe course was completed by four adults and two youth through a partnership with the Vernon School District. Paddle practice began July 21 and will run Thursdays until Aug. 25.

If you are a First Nation, Metis, Inuit youth or person interested in participating, volunteering or running a camp kitchen, contact Belanger at mjbelanger73@hotmail.com or 250-308-4066.