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Bringing skills back home
Behchoko youth spends her summer working at a retirement home and living on a farm

Lyndsay Herman
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 5, 2013

Whether Jacqueline Gon decides to pursue studies in business, administration, or physical education, she knows she's keen to bring her expertise back home.

NNSL photo/graphic

Jacqueline Gon, 20, is attending Grande Prairie Regional College in Alberta to get the education she needs to improve youth recreation programs in her community. This summer, she's completing a work placement at an Ontario retirement home to get experience and see if the job is a good fit. - photo courtesy of Jacqueline Gon

"I'm aiming to work in my home community because they don't have much ... for kids (there)," the 20-year-old said. "They don't have much recreation going on. I want to (offer more) for the people in my community, like an open gym for them. They have things like that but they're not doing it every day so I want to do that for my hometown."

Gon, a Behchoko resident, is currently studying business at Grande Prairie Regional College in Alberta. She is, however, taking her time to consider physical education as another option.

Studies in that field would allow her to become either a certified gym teacher or a recreation manager in her home community. Her goal is to ultimately contribute to community recreation programs through work in government or education, Gon said.

She said the programs currently in place in Behchoko are great for youth, but she'd like to see even more programs offered on more days of the week.

In a test of her interests, Gon is working at the Almonte Country Haven retirement home in Kinburn, Ont., as part of a work placement.

She helps with the recreation department to run fitness and entertainment programs for the home's residents.

"I work with elders and I love it," said Gon. "I do recreation stuff with the elders. I do the bingos, the fitness classes, music classes, manicures. So I think it's what I want to do."

The work placement is through the Northern Youth Abroad Program, which also set Gon up with a host family who live on a farm near the retirement home.

Farm life has provided many new experiences for Gon, including using a lawn mower for the first time, surviving an Ontario heat wave, and watching one of the farm's pigs give birth to a litter of piglets.

"It has been very, very different," Gon said. "But I like it."

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