At Power To Be, we love to expand our learning and seek new inspiration by engaging with other like-minded organizations. The 7th Canadian Adventure Therapy Symposium (CATS) brought nature-based practitioners from across Canada to Whitehorse for three days of networking, learning, and celebration. Power To Be has been a proud member CATS family since the collective’s inception 10 years ago. The vision of CATS is to connect leaders who promote and support the therapeutic benefits of adventure and nature-based programming. I had the honour of representing Power To Be alongside Jenna Wright at the symposium and we were joined by a strong Vancouver Island contingent with our friends from YMCA, Outward Bound, Child Youth and Mental Health, RAD Society, SCI BC, University of Victoria and Human Nature Counselling.

With a goal of sharing ideas and bridging generational voices, the symposium kicked off with an evening meet and greet at Lumel studios, a self-proclaimed happiness factory. Lumel is a glass-blowing studio that welcomes anyone and everyone into the studio to learn and participate and take refuge in the space.

The following morning delegates were welcomed to the traditional lands of the Taa’an Kwächän and the Kwanlin Dün peoples by local knowledge keepers Phil and Jack. Phil and Jack shared a smudge and lit a sacred fire that would burn throughout the conference. Grand Chief of the Yukon, Peter Johnston, started off day two with a compelling story of indigenous experiences in the north and his hopes for the future of leadership and development of strong indigenous youth. Workshops and presentations from across the country highlighted and demonstrated the collective strength of practitioners to engage youth and families in therapeutically beneficial experiences in nature. It was amazing to connect with other youth driven programs such as school-based expedition program in Nunavik called NURRAIT or Jeunes Karibus which parallels the Wilderness School that Power To Be offers in Victoria.

Being a part of this amazing symposium sparked inspiration, passion, and excitement. Power To Be looks forward to connecting with colleagues in future CATS conferences, especially since all in attendance share the collective understanding that everyone belongs in nature.

This blog was written by Sylvia Storry, Power To Be‘s Youth and Family Practice Coordinator. Living her own philosophy of “inspiring everyone around me to focus on the positive, be not afraid to try new things and challenge those that tell them they can’t do something,” Sylvia’s commitment to more than 10 years of working in child and youth care is matched only by her unwavering love of time spent outside.