Leaders of Today

During the month of August, I attended a conference by the National Center for Collaboration of Indigenous Education and the Atlantic Summer Institute’s conference on Child and Youth Mental Health. After reflecting on my experiences, I came to realize how much we value our youth and how important our voices are in this ever changing world. At the NCCIE conference and the ASI, there were youth panels, youth leadership programs, and discussion groups that included our input on curricula and policy. It was evident that there was a lot of effort used to ensure that youth presence/input was a strong element. Our voices are being heard now more than ever and is coming at a time of need. It is coming at a time when we must return to land based/experiential education, at a time when our population’s mental health needs better support, at a time when the climate is in trouble. It is in these times, when people are turning to youth, to generate new ideas and create solutions to the issues facing our world today. We are change makers. We are leaders. We have the motivation, creativity, strength, resilience it takes to make this world a better place. 

-Laylia Bennett

PEI Conferance.png

First time for everything - Garden Edition

It’s the second week of July and we’re still working hard on the garden. Although we started a bit later than expected I’m very excited about this year’s season. We decided to do four different gardening styles this year and it’s great to see the diversity in the garden instead of the traditional tilled flat garden beds. We have four locally made Eco Containers, where I have planted onions, tomatoes, peppers and basil (and one accidental eggplant). We have eight straw bales that have pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers growing in them. We also have included a traditional indigenous companion planting system called a Traditional Three Sister’s Garden that incorporates corn, beans and squash planted together on a mound. Finally, a garden wouldn’t be complete without a standard tilled field housing a variety of plants including corn, squash, beans, lettuce, carrots, potatoes and some flowers.

Our goal for this year’s garden is to get some yield and also to figure out what works best for the land and climate we are working in! It is easy to get discouraged when starting a garden in a new place for the first time where some plants will have more success than others, the soil will need continued work, and it’s difficult to gauge how dry or wet it really is. This is my first time doing a garden and although I have done a lot of research and sought wisdom from lots of gardening extraordinaires, I am promising to be patient with myself this year. At the end of this growing season, I will be making a report on what worked and what didn’t, and from then on at least we’ll have something to take away and use for next year!

Our goal for including our project youth and the Greater Dorchester community in our garden is to teach others what we learn along the way, donate the vegetables at the end of the season, and host community potlucks! We are excited to see the garden, and the Cross-Cultural Youth Project in full bloom!

Locally Made Eco Containers

Locally Made Eco Containers

Building an Effective and Exciting Youth Program from Scratch is no Small Task!

As much as we wanted to run on week one and have others to join us, we decided it was also important to take the time to create a solid foundation and find our collective voice. This included MANY conversations from things as simple as how to organize docs on Google Drive, to more complex issues around how to build cross-cultural awareness with youth in 2019.

Members of our team have been stretching themselves by participating and sharing at conferences across Atlantic Canada including the KAIROS Atlantic Gathering, JEDI’s Plenary on Indigenous Economic Development, and How We Thrive. One of our Program Coordinators even completed her Blanket Exercise Training!

After many hours of dreaming, listening, pausing, shifting, engaging, and replanning, we’ve made it through. United and excited, we are finally ready to launch this thing!


Wow - What a Start We've Had!


So much has happened in the first 6 weeks of getting the Cross-Cultural Youth Project off the ground that it’s tough to recap all of it in our first blog post, but here goes:

We started out with an initial orientation week, and discovered that our team is awesome!

We spent a good deal of time getting settled into our offices at 8 Station Road in Dorchester, NB, with the help of the Greater Dorchester Moving Forward Co-op who own this beautiful century-old building.

We learned how to use the coffee maker, moved four huge desks, and even assembled our own office chairs!