Thank you for the support of the below sponsors and funding agencies for the success of Awaken Our Spirit Retreat during the summer of 2021.

Tamarack Foundation
CIBC Wood Gundy Miracle Day
Corporate Sponsor
Youth Endowment Fund
Canada Summer Jobs

Awaken Our Spirit Retreat – Program Overview

Summer of 2021

“A Summer of Healing – A Summer to Remember”

At Focus on the Family – Awaken Our Spirit Retreat, we provided support for 103 children / youth and their families experiencing many forms of grieving, loss, mental health issues and dysfunction. In total over 300 people benefited from the Awaken Our Spirit Retreat. Using Indigenous Cultural Components and Teachings using the Medicine Wheel, Tipi Teachings, Land Based Learning, Mental Health First Aid, Recreation and Spiritual Therapy. These Mental Health disabilities are a direct result of Inter-generational Trauma from Residential Schools, and we provided intervention and prevention.

In addition to helping the children / youth and their families, we provided employment to 20 indigenous youth, enlisted 30 volunteers and contracted 7 specialized resource professionals.

Here, they found a safe, caring environment that offered physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health support. We designed programs to best meet their needs and interests, keeping them engaged and learning positive coping skills, not just mentally, but in all aspects of life. We taught them about independence, offered them opportunities to succeed at tasks in new surroundings and helped boost their self-esteem. We focused them on their talents and gifts, helping them develop so they can use these as part of their healing journey. Supporting children, youth and families that need support is exciting and rewarding not only for us, but for all involved in the process.

After spending time with us, they now know how to face challenges in life. It’s providing the skills of sharing, independence and self-reliance, in balance with all the Indigenous Cultural Components. Their true spirits and purpose shined through in all the things they did and accomplished.

The summer was broken down to provide eight one-week intense therapeutic programs which involved the following:

  • Land based learning from qualified instructors and Elders.
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Indigenous Knowledge Teachings
  • Physical program and recreational activities, such as swimming and canoeing
  • Arts and crafts
  • Sewing: Ribbon Skirts and Shirts
  • Cultural programming and cooking

Our programs assisted them in developing positive coping skills and the ability to handle themselves with confidence. We empowered them with the knowledge and skill sets they can use for life.

Focus on the Family provided a retreat experience that contributed to healing for all children, youth and families as they grow, learn and flourish together.

Our incredible staff from 2021 who dedicated their summer to helping families.

A look back at just a few of the activities and moments.

At the conclusion of week 1, we sat down with one of the parent participants for some feedback on the week.