In the summer of 2012, Wayne Sawchuk and Jerry Pavia again held youth camps at Mayfield Lake, deep in the remote wilderness of the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area. These camps are aimed at introducing youth to the M-KMA, but also, in a small way to combat “nature deficit disorder” that afflicts many young people today. Two camps were held, one for the Remuda Horsemanship Program, and the other for the University of Northern British Columbia’s Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management program.
The Remuda Horsemanship Program has brought a group of youth to Muskwa-Kechika Wilderness Adventures’ Mayfield Lake base camp each year for the last two years. Tony McKee, leader of the program, reported that the effect it has had on those who attended the camp has been nothing short of “life changing!” The youth realized a connection with nature, and an empowerment that came with that. There has been an increase among the youth in self-esteem, self confidence, and connections to others and their community. Tony says “These camp experiences have vastly benefited our participants and we plan to continue coming to the camps in years to come. The camp is extremely well run and the food and accommodations are fantastic, I strongly recommend this camp to any group looking to reconnect with nature.”
Then, in late August the University of Northern British Columbia’s Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management program offered a field course for twelve participants. For eleven days they explored by foot, canoe, and horseback on day trips and overnight horse and horse/hiking adventures.
The course was designed for senior university students to take basic outdoor recreation and tourism management skills and theory learned throughout other university courses, and put them into practice; hands-on; experientially. The group included students of all skills levels from those who had never been on a course to those who were experienced riders. They learned how to tack, pack and travel with horses in the backcountry, and much more. Professor Pam Wright, who led the group, reported that they experienced “amazing views from the high alpine, caribou bounding by in a blizzard or sniffing around tents at night, fantastic food, and superb discussions about the M-KMA, conservation planning and management. Outdoor leadership and guiding were highlights between the laughter, good humour and daily adventures of living in the wilderness. By the end of the two weeks most were ready to saddle our horses and join Wayne for the two week trek to the Alaska Highway… but that experience will have to wait for another year.”
Muskwa-Kechika Adventures is a project of Wayne Sawchuk, whose work is supported by the Kesho Trust. For more information on the Trust, see www.trust.firstcontactdesign.com