Power To Be and ICA partner to help Victoria’s newest residents challenge themselves in the great outdoors
Power To Be recognizes that new immigrants rarely get the chance to explore the outdoors as those activities can be low on the priority list when there are so many other things going on. Outdoor adventure can also be hard to access for new immigrants as you need gear, transportation and the know how to even be able to fathom the idea of getting out into the wilderness. Knowing the power of being out in nature, Power To Be partnered with the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) to help some of the youth they work with have some outdoor fun.
ICA helps individuals and organizations to connect across cultures. They provide information, support and tools to help immigrants reach their goals. ICA runs a youth program that supports more than 20 youth from all over the world to reach their full potential as they settle into Canadian culture.
In July, Power To Be and ICA worked together to take youth on a four-day camping and hiking trip along the stunning Juan de Fuca trail on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Completely outfitted by our generous donors, we kitted up and spent four amazing days hiking, camping, playing, and learning skills such as camp set up, fire building and camp cooking. The youth did not take anything for granted and spent every spare moment exploring, laughing, and enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
The highlight for many of them was the solo hike where everyone split up along the trail to hike in silence along the coast. A very powerful experience for each of them, many of them conquered their fears of being alone in the woods. During our closing circle, one youth looked at the Power To Be staff and said that since he was a young child he had seen outdoor survival shows on television but never dreamed that one day he would be able to do something similar himself. This trip for him had been a dream come true.
Last week, the group got together again for a trip to WildPlay. Swinging through the trees, laughing and screaming in joy and excitement, the ICA youth absolutely loved it and really pushed themselves. A couple of them were terrified of heights but still managed to get through the entire course. These kids are amazing.
Keen to strengthen the partnership, and the work that Power To Be does, the staff team also attended a diversity awareness workshop hosted by ICA this month. The workshop was focused on how to be more inclusive and welcoming in our ever-changing society with a focus on building cultural connections. The staff reported that this workshop really helped bring awareness and mindfulness to their work.
We want to extend a huge thank you to ICA for all the work that they do helping welcome new members of our community, and to WildPlay for hosting another great program day with us. Here’s to more adventures to come!
– Story shared by Aviva Shtull, program manager