First Nation Wilderness Guide & Cultural Interpretation Training ProgramIn the spring of 2018, YFNCT partnered with the Wilderness Tourism Association of Yukon (WTAY) to deliver the Wilderness Guide & Cultural Interpretation Training Program pilot project for First Nations youth. The purpose of the program was to increase the amount of First Nations content and number of individuals involved in the wilderness tourism industry. First Nations people working in the industry bring a wealth of knowledge and stories from their traditional territories. These types of experiences are increasingly in demand by visitors to Yukon who are seeking an authentic cultural experience.
YFNCT received over 30 applications for the inaugural program and 6 youth from across Yukon were selected to participate in the intensive 4-week training program. Youth who successfully completed the program (all of them) had the opportunity to enter into internships with local wilderness tourism operators. Three youth made the choice to enter into internships while three made the choice to take their newly acquired skills back to their communities. We thank Equinox Adventures, Ruby Range Adventures, and Tundra North Tours for their willingness to hire youth as part of this pilot project.
Over the course of the program, youth received training in paddling, swift water rescue, wilderness advanced first aid, cultural interpretation, food safe, super host, and more. Youth also had the opportunity to interact and learn from various knowledge keepers and Elders who participated in the program during many campfire sessions that were held at base camp located at Kwäday Dän Kenji (Long Ago People’s Place) in Champagne.
With such immense interest in the program from participants and potential partners it will be interesting to see what is possible with the program going forward. We hope you’ll stay tuned for details.