Growing up I was privileged enough to have access to a place, within the traditional lands of the Tla’amin peoples, that I share with my family. For many years I built a relationship with the land and waterways that exist within that space. The trees grew up alongside me and my siblings, the pathways between them etched out by our footprints. When I return to this place, I feel safe, I feel connected, and immediately recharged. I am grateful for all that the land and water gifts me. Through these experiences, I have come to foster a great sense of appreciation and gratitude for natural spaces that provide opportunities for reflection, comfort, and community.

Last year, Power To Be’s 2020 program plan was turned upside down with COVID-19. After careful consideration and work to make our Prospect Lake site as “safe” as possible, slowly we have been able to invite staff, participants, and volunteers back to the site. Our community was welcomed to a space where they could forge their own relationships with the land. These relationships go beyond seeing Prospect Lake as a nice place to be. Often folks on the site have a favourite spot. For some, it is a rock that is comfortable to sit on, a tree that provides shade when it is hot, a perch that they can watch the birds as they go about their daily work. I have a favourite maple tree that I often seek out when I need space to think or connect.  We are truly grateful that we can invite people to connect in ways that help them to contribute to the history and stewardship of the land.

For the past 4 years, the Power To Be team has been building a relationship with the land that makes up our Prospect Lake site. We have learned about its history. We give gratitude to the WSANEC, Malahat, and Lekwungen peoples who have graciously shared teachings and oral histories of the land and ancestors.  As one of Power To Be’s Program Facilitators, Paul Tangira, says, we are now “contributing to its history” with our programs and inviting others into creating their own relationships with the land.  Already the footprints of our participants, volunteers, and staff are creating pathways for growth, connection, and recharge. For this opportunity, we are truly grateful.

This blog was written by Sylvia Storry, Power To Be‘s Youth & Family Adventures Lead. With more than 20 years of experience supporting youth and their families, Sylvia (she/her) approaches people with positivity and genuine care.