One meaningful experience I had this summer was at the last week of Trent camp, one specific camper was extremely overwhelmed on the first day and was expressing a need to have a quiet space and familial support. In this instance I checked in with my supervisor and proceeded to contact his mom and inform her of his expressed need and also allow her the capacity to not be immediately available.
I sat with this camper to make sure he was not alone and allowed him to feel all the feelings and participate in self stimulation as needed and eventually after a few snacks and three square breathing methods; the camper was very relaxed and tired. At this point his mom showed up and spoke with him and they decided he would take the remainder of the day off and it turns out he was very sleepy and really needed this rest.
I remained aware of their human needs and stayed in touch with my own emotions to understand how he felt at that time. During emotional and physical crises, I try to maintain a gentle tender approach and also give the person permission to express the need to be alone even by being 15 feet away in solidarity with the person in crisis. Maintaining self autonomy with the youth is crucial for strong advocacy skills in the future. Advocacy for indigenous youth is a never ending need. TRACKS has always had a valuable and long lasting impact on me as a staff member, working with amazing variations of humans and finding new ways to thrive in a workplace that builds skills necessary for future success.
I always consider myself a more educated person with stronger skills to advocate after a summer with TRACKS. I always meet amazing people and make beautiful lasting friendships with my co-workers. To be frank, the TRACKS team feels more like family now. We have bonded and broke down barriers alongside one another, grown as people and relearned how to be kind to ourselves and to care for our small family all at once. Truly touched by each and every summer I spend with this wonderful team, this summer will forever hold a warm place in my heart as I would not have had the mass amount of support anywhere else with anybody else. Thank you all for the amazing summer again and for the love that pours out of the TRACKS team. We are as good as those we are close to and I am close to a very good team of people.
A specific experience I had a few times throughout camp that taught me as much if not more than it taught the youth about true empathy and kindness. The bug catching activities; I am pretty afraid of bugs/ insects but the many campers were so kind and gentle with them, and displayed empathy towards them and truly changed my way of perceiving insects as an adult. Youth change our own perspectives. As adults we are busy and distracted with colonial demands and our Indigenous youth immerse us in a simpler lifestyle at times. They remind us to take a step back from stress and mental fog to just plainly be in nature and in the moment.