Project Code: OUTLAND-01-001
Program: FRIP
Sponsor:Outland Youth Employment Program
Project Status:Complete

Additional Sponsors:

  • Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
  • Spray Lake Sawmills
  • Mercer Peace River Pulp Ltd.
  • Millar Western Forest Products Ltd.
  • Slave Lake Pulp Corp – a Division of West Fraser Mills Ltd.
  • Vanderwell Contractors (1971) Ltd.
  • Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd.,
  • Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Ltd.

 

The Outland Youth Employment Program is a national network of innovative education, training and work opportunities for Indigenous youth that includes our award winning six-week land-based summer program. OYEP wrap around support services are available across the country and summer-based programs are currently available in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. OYEP has worked towards equity and opportunity for Indigenous youth and communities since 2000.

The 2022 OYEP Alberta program was held at the Mihkowapikwaniy Cultural Camp on Lubicon Lake First Nation, as it has been since the inception of OYEP in the province. The remote location of this camppresents several challenges; availability of goods and services, damage to vehicles due to rough access road, distance to post-secondary institutions for Science Week, and medical services are short on resources. That being said, the positive factors of the site outweigh the negative; Lubicon Lake is a highly organized and participatory First Nation Partner, the camp itself has all of the facilities that OYEP programs require, and likely most important is that the youth who live in Northern communities are in greater need of programs like OYEP, as they face more limited opportunities and greater logistical challenges than youth growing up in other regions. The remoteness of the camp also contributed to the experience; Youth were totally immersed in this secluded environment while learning first-hand all of the safety and supports available when engaged in this type of forestry work.

Lubicon Lake First Nation has been an exemplary community partner throughout all four years of the Alberta OYEP program. They provide the camp itself, and the resources to keep it safe and well maintained, but their support spans far beyond that in both breadth and depth. Chief Billy Joe Laboucan ensures that he is available for consultation, present during ceremonial milestones of the program, and engages directly with youth and program staff every year. The camp’s support staff make themselves available for issues both large and small; from filling up the generators to spearheading contact with emergency services. Their care for these logistical issues gives OYEP staff the space and time they need to engage with youth as effectively as possible. Apart from practical coordination, Lubicon Lake brings meaningful programming to the table in the form of cultural engagement activities for which they supply leadership by providing elders and cultural knowledge keepers. The opportunities for certifications, education, and practical training provided by OYEP are extremely valuable to the youths, but it is this cultural education that offers them a wisdom and sense of belonging that helps them navigate the world.

OYEP’s policy of recruiting youth from multiple communities and bringing them together for the program has allowed for maximization of occupancy and consistency in deliverables. Over the four years that the program has been running in Alberta, youth have seized the opportunities offered by the program, resulting in:

  • 84 OYEP graduates
  • Over 75,000 trees planted
  • Over 70 First Aid certifications
  • Over 70 High school credits granted
  • Over 200 total certifications
  • 10,000+ paid participant hours worked
  • Youths representing 24 Indigenous Nations; 20 Alberta and 4 BC Indigenous Nations