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  • Author or Editor: Fay Fletcher x

Fay Fletcher, Therese Salenieks and Alicia Hibbert

A University of Alberta research group and the Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement in Alberta, Canada have engaged in a community based participatory research (CBPR) project to develop resiliency among children and youth living on Metis Settlements. Metis’ are one of three Aboriginal groups in Canada; children living on Metis Settlements are at high risk for substance abuse and violence. The Life Skills Journey is a product of the research team/community collaboration; it is a summer day camp for children aged 7-14, which is aimed at helping kids build skills to succeed in their lives. In the summers of 2013 and 2014 children attended the life skills day camp for 10-day sessions. Knowledge of alcohol and other drugs, bullying, self-esteem, communication, kinship, spirituality, grief and loss, and community were discussed in camp and reinforced through play. Employing a sociocultural perspective, learning materials were aligned within the context of norms and practices of Metis settlements. Trained facilitators guided campers through games, activities, and play. The play-based guided participation approach was positively received by campers; however, integrating life skills learning and play remains a major challenge that the research team faces. This presentation will elaborate on the approaches used to meaningfully engage children and the challenges associated with implementation. Qualitative data on play and learning, collected through interviews and focus groups with camp facilitators, child participants, and other staff will be shared. Presenters will focus on key Life Skills Journey program activities that children enjoyed and learned from, using qualitative data to support the findings.