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GDI Partners with Camp Tamarack for Kids Camp

Aug 10, 2014

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This year, GDI Training and Employment partnered with the Camp Tamarack Foundation to take Aboriginal children with learning disabilities to a summer camp. Established in 1977 by two Saskatoon teachers, Camp Tamarack enables Aboriginal children from with learning disabilities to go to school in the summer while enjoying summer camp life. The camp keeps the children engaged in schooling while they also become more independent and confident. The children are referred to the camp by teachers and parents and come from across the province.

Lyla Phillips, a third year at SUNTEP student participated at Camp Tamarack under the GDI Training and Employment student subsidy program. Her view of the children’s camp was, “It builds their confidence. The difference is visible; when the children arrive they are shy and timid. A few days later, they are happy, confident, and enjoy new friends. At the end of the camp, many of the kids say they would like to come back next year.” Lyla’s supervisor, Linda Slough, who is also the Executive Director, stated that teachers like Lyla bring new pedagogies while at the same time, they learn something new.

I visited the Camp for an on-site follow up with Lyla and Linda and to my surprise there were two former GDI Training and Employment clients there. Christine Quenelle and Amanda Goller are SUNTEP graduates are were summer students in other partnerships in the past. We sat down as a group and discussed what they feel they are bringing to Camp Tamarack. They had started a “Métis Evening,” an event that included Métis jigging, a discussion of Métis history and culture, bannock making and reading Métis stories. They all expressed interest in returning to Camp Tamarack for a summer job and are grateful to be in this type of position because it teaches them important skills in identifying and working with children with learning disabilities in their real jobs as teachers and a soon to be teacher. It’s a win-win situation not only for the camp who benefits from having educated young Métis people bringing their culture but also for the summer students who can bring what they learned over the summer back to the class room for a fresh new school year.

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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