Youth from across Tlicho territory wrapped up a summer of leadership training and activities with the Imbe program last week.

Every year, this program gives youth a chance to connect with their culture, get out on the land, get safety certifications, learn leadership skills and take opportunities to get some experience related to careers they’re interested in.

Program manager Vanita Zoe said the youth are asked what careers they’re interested in through entrance surveys

“It’s different for everybody,” she said. “Some of them they want to be social workers, teachers, some want to work with environmental management, a few want to work in the mines.”

Two weeks ago, two groups of six youth, along with two leaders, took two overnight trips to Diavik diamond mine, and then one group of 15 youth took a day trip.

This was really an eye opener for the students,” said assistant program manager Rhonda Apples. “They got to see the opportunities and the different jobs at a mine site. It gives us a feeling of what it’s like to live and work here. It makes me feel good to know how it’s managed to keep people safe.”

In addition to a tour of the facilities, the overnight groups had a chance to do some water sampling and raptor monitoring with the mine’s environmental team, and played soccer and basketball in the mine’s gym.

Diavik funds the Imbe program through the Impact-Benefits Agreement it has with the Tlicho Government, said Zoe.

“The Imbe program really wouldn’t be possible without Diavik,” she said.

Much of the activities since this year’s Imbe program began have been different in each community, said Zoe.

In Wekweeti, youth had been trying to get out on the land to hunt moose and ducks but have been thwarted by weather.

“One thing I like that they’re doing is they’ve been trying to fix the graveyards there—painting, brush-cutting and fixing some of the fencing,” said Zoe. “I hear it looks really nice.”

In Behchoko, a group aimed to get out on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake last week to get a moose and some ducks and “just really to have a nice time on the lake,” said Zoe.

One of the teams in Behchoko has been volunteering at the senior’s home in the community, helping out and visiting.

“The staff really like having them and hope some will volunteer over the school year as well,” said Zoe. “It’s nice when our young people build relationships with the elders in our community”


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