Ghost River Rediscovery Society
Our Story Why We Exist
“…As a result of her (camp participant) exceptionally positive experiences with the leaders and the mix of cultural learning embodied in fun activities, our granddaughter has not identified with the pervasive, destructive alternatives which she was familiar with her early years. Rather, she has become a happier more self-confident person, with high personal standards and a strong pride in her personal identity. She is thrilled to have friends as well as to know the leaders and volunteers, who are either of Aboriginal heritage and/or people who practice the values of respect and caring for all life. It has been an eye-opener for her to see the leaders setting and attaining personal goals and interacting in their positive life-affirming manner both as a team, with the elders, and with the children and youth in the camps.
…Ghost River Rediscovery has made such a positive impact on our 15 year old granddaughter that her ambition is to become a leader with them. When I asked her, what Ghost River Rediscovery meant to her, she said “Role models who do what they love and share it with us, good friends, loving nature and the outdoors, great food, the leaders who always have funny stories, the learning about your own courage and inner strength from solo.” Our granddaughter is already counting down the months until summer camp.
Over the years, our financial circumstances have dictated that sometimes we couldn’t afford to pay the full fees for camp, and our granddaughter was anxious that she may not be able to attend. However, thankfully, with the generous support of funders, the Ghost River subsidy was available to help.
Thank-you for taking the time to read this letter. We pray for the leaders who truly make a positive difference, as well, that this life saving work will continue.
(Guardians of Wolf camp participant)
Our Impact What We Do
Our vision is to help create a strong, healthy community where all cultures are respected. Our Mission is to inspire and empower young people through Indigenous ways of knowing with respect and honour for the natural world, for themselves and for all people.
Ghost River has been making a positive difference in the lives of youth in Calgary for 20 years. We are unique in our ability to offer powerful, culturally grounded life changing development experiences while remaining truly accessible and sensitive to the realities experienced by young people, especially Aboriginal youth, growing up in the city. The breadth of our programs provide a truly relevant way for young people to successfully navigate the challenging issues that face so many Aboriginal youth: a sense of healthy belonging and identity; positive cultural connection; independence; educational achievement; living a healthy life; having a positive vision and sense of meaning, and finding a healthy peer community.
In the heart of Devil’s Gap an hour and a half NW of Calgary nestled just outside the Banff national park boundary is the beautiful place where we run our summer cultural outdoor education camps. Our programs are open to youth from all cultures ages 8-18. The camp is rustic without power, running water or access to the internet. Cells phones aren’t welcome here. The kids are picked up in the city and driven to the edge of the camp and then they hike in to the sound of the drum.
During the rest of the year we offer free Rediscovery programs out of our office in Calgary. These programs include traditional crafting, outings, winter weekend camps and other active adventures. The Urban programs are meant to help the youth stay connected to each other, the Elders and keep the spirit of Rediscovery going through the winter months.
Our Programs How We Do It
Ancient Pathways ~ New Directions is our summer program that offer children, youth and adults wilderness camping and outdoor education run in the Ghost Wilderness Area. GRR camps offer a unique and exciting opportunity for youth to experience the natural world in a cultural and safe environment. Days are filled with engaging activities, cultural sharing and environmental learning, all within an Aboriginal based program. Surrounded by the incredible mountains of the Devils Gap area, participants will develop new bonds between themselves, others, and the land.
The Urban Rediscovery Program offers youth ages eight (8) to seventeen (17) free weekly cultural programs that encompass educating, inspiring and empowering youth while building respect for themselves, and others. Urban Rediscovery is scheduled throughout October to June which allows the youth to remain connect to Ghost River Rediscovery year round after the summer camps. Each session has an Elder present and also provides informational workshops, life skills, employment building, cultural and outdoor education, recreational activities, community initiatives, and traditional arts and crafts.
The Youth Leadership Program provides youth between the ages of nineteen (19) to thirty (30) with opportunities to be mentored by highly trained Rediscovery staff prior to placements into internationally and culturally focused work settings. The intent of this program is to encourage youth to become stronger leaders in their communities by sharing the diversity of Canadian cultures while experiencing life abroad through an international internship.
The Rediscovery with Schools Program brings rediscovery to the classroom and allows students to explore self-identity, learn about different cultures and connect to the natural world. Each session is based on Aboriginal traditions and believes and crafted for the needs and goals of each classroom. Through this school program students increase self-esteem and self-confidence, it promotes acceptance of all cultures and instills environmental stewardship.
Ghost River Rediscovery offers an Aboriginal Awareness Training Program for businesses and agencies interested in serving or assisting the needs of their Aboriginal clients and/or employees. This course is intended to educate the public and clear the air of romanticized, prejudiced or inaccurate portrayals of Native people which cause cross-cultural misunderstandings.
Our Requests What You Can Do
There are many ways you can support us: donation of supplies or monies, volunteer with our youth programs, offer workshops or training for our youth and young leaders, camp-sit our base camp in the summertime, or even volunteer at fundraising events. Please contact Ghost River Rediscovery directly (403-270-9351) and we can let you know of current opportunities.