The WS year-end celebration is always a highlight of the year. The youth, their loved ones, funders, supporters, and Power to Be staff all gather to acknowledge the hard work these youth have put into the program and their personal development. Usually, our celebration takes place in September as the year threes graduate from the program, this year however that was not the case.

Covid-19, like with many other programs, changed many of our plans and altered the way we would usually run our programs. We decided to continue the year threes into December, as we could keep offering programming at an altered state. This also gave us time to plan next year’s offerings and allowed us to offer more programs to our year three youth in 2021. Covid-19 also necessitated that we do the year-end celebration virtually. Knowing this, our team worked hard to make this celebration just as special as in previous years. We included a virtual escape room, parent/guardian mingle area, stories from John Bradley of the Wasenec nations, and a celebration ceremony to honor the youth and their efforts.

Each year our youth progress in the program they receive a small token of their hard work. In their third year, our youth typically receive a Power to Be hoodie and a backpack donated from Robinson’s Outdoor Store. This backpack symbolizes the knowledge the youth have gained throughout the program that they will now take with them into the future. Knowing this is often a highlight of the celebration, Youth and Family Adventures Lead Sylvia Storry, hatched a plan. We enlisted the help of many Power to Be staff to deliver packages (socially distanced of course) to the year threes and ensure the magic of the year-end celebration was not lost.

We would like to especially congratulate our paddle recipients: Eva Y., Eli C., Caley D., and Mattias B. These youth attended every single overnight wilderness school program. Thank you for your dedication and hard work.

Gathering as a community became increasingly important in 2020. We have had to forge new ways of connecting, building our community online, and remaining flexible during changing times. Despite being online, our year-end celebration still felt as magical as ever. Thank you to everyone who made it possible and the biggest thank you to our youth who remained engaged and put in the effort in 2020.