Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fogo Stories (CCELD Day 4)

On this fourth day of adventuring, I heard a few stories that truly inspired me. Of course, in my re-telling, I will not do these stories the true justice they deserve, but I want to share with you what has been helpful to me.

The day began at 9 Wing Gander, the Canadian Forces Base that hosts 103 Squadron whose primary function is SAR (Search & Rescue). It was interesting to see how the organization was structured in a very transparent and disciplined fashion. I am reminded of my time in Army Cadets (1226 Fort Garry Horse Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps) and how much the skills of leadership, public speaking and instructional techniques have served me so well in my daily life for the past 10 years of my life. We heard stories of horrible situations, natural and man-made, that put human life at risk. It was so amazing to see the commitment, and explore some of the challenges, that come with operating such a situation. To the personnel at CFB Fogo, I salute you.

Today, we got to experience and be immersed in this amazing island off the island (of Newfoundland) called Fogo Island. It began with a ferry ride (video below) across the water (took about 40 minutes)

Once we arrived on Fogo Island, we were hosted by the Shorefast Foundation, a social enterprise that is involved in some very creative and inspiring initiatives that aim to enhance the local economy and provide opportunities for the local residents to share their gifts with the world. You can read more info HERE.

Now, stories. There are 3 that stick out in my mind. They stick out because each story contains a lesson about Leadership that I am personally struggling with right now. I feel very personally challenged in my role as a leader in my community…and pressured on this trip to represent the perspective of Indigenous youth. In any event, there were 3 stories that inspired me hugely.

#1 – The little girl and the horse

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. This girl was just like other little girls in her community, and at the age of 10, was gifted with a horse. This gift came with the condition, that that little girl was responsible for taking care of it. This girl was very challenged to do so, as maintaining a horse requires quite a bit of work (I am guessing here; it needs to eat, be brushed, exercised and so on). This little girl had to take time away from her friends, so she could take care of her horse. She had to make sacrifices in her own life and had to learn how to care for another living being. Now, being a little girl she didn’t know how to do everything right away and her father had to constantly remind her, mentor her and (most importantly) allow her to make mistakes. Years later, when this little girl was 15, she had the all the skills needed to take care of that horse. What stood out for me about this story, is that the father provided an opportunity for that young person to have responsibility, in a safe environment, where she was able to fail and fall. This failing/falling process is really important, because that little girl learned within that safe environment how to fulfill her role in a good way that was respectful of that other living being that was dependant upon her for its own survival.

#2 – Elisabet’s Children

Once upon a time, there was an amazing woman who owned a cutting edge contemporary art studio in an old school town. She believed heavily that accessibility was important, and she believed (through her own mentors examples) that every child had a gift. She would watch these young children (usually boys) come into her art studio and on their first visit, they would observe these pieces of art and speak like their fathers, criticizing the works. These same children, on their second visit, seemed less critical, and instead…just listened. By the 3rd visit, those young artists had become engaged and were asking questions and began thinking about different ways that they could express themselves. Why did this happen?! I believe it happened because of the amazing leadership of that artist and the words that she said to those kids: Listen; and let the art speak to you if it can.

I am excited to share my stories.

Love & Respect


PS - Shout out to Deanna for giving me the idea of starting to do shout outs to people when I make my little video snap shots when I go to places. The credit for this idea, must be given to her. Thanks lady, and keep an eye out :P

PPS - If you wanna check out more info about the event that I am on, check out

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North End MC

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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Representin the North End of Winnipeg since 1987. I will share my journey tryna set an example and live a proud Cree life. I'll include my challenges and feelings and progress in terms of AYO! Aboriginal Youth Opportunities. You(th) are the reason.