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On July 9th, Indigenous Roots heads out for their 21-day expedition to explore some of BC’s finest wilderness areas, including Gambier Island, Howe Sound, Sechelt Inlet and Whistler. For months, the group has been preparing (from kayking, canoeing, hiking, and even catching a Tanya Tagaq concert) to ready themselves for 21 days of conquering BC’s wilderness, while learning environmental and cultural principles, and leadership skills.

We’re so proud to see 12 girls take off for this transformative journey in the pilot year of our program. It has taken a lot of hands on deck, and we’d like to share more behind “the making of” the Indigenous Roots program.

The Power of Collaboration: A message from Lisa Tallio, Director of Combing Our Strength™

Lisa1I first met Jeff in June of 2016 when we got together to discuss our careers, interests, and general desire to make a difference in Indigenous communities. I had seen the impact of Jeff’s work firsthand, when my children participated in outdoor education opportunities under his guidance. As a mother, it was clear the experience left a profound and lasting impact on their lives.

I had mentioned to Jeff that I wanted to make an in depth, long term commitment to Indigenous girls and their leadership – and Jeff didn’t hesitate to come on board.  We collaborated on creating an inclusive opportunity that would provide Indigenous girls outdoor education and leadership skills. We were confident that this would increase confidence, their sense of belonging, land connections, respect of self and others, and (of course) be a positive and fun experience. We committed to over 35 days of programming for 25 girls, including the 21 day outdoor expedition. This was all an effort to support young Indigenous girls in creating positive habits. Jeff is an ally of Indigenous peoples and his contributions for planning and preparing for our 21-day adventure was no small feat. But I know he would have given an entire season to the girls if he could have.

The Indigenous Roots Outdoor Leadership Program culminates in a 21-day overnight camp exploring coastal and mountainous terrains. Participants will be immersed in environmental and cultural learning principles, youth leadership skill training and more through the lens of experiential learning models, traditional cultural training, one to one coaching and wilderness camping.

About Jeff Willis, Founder & Principal Consultant
Creative Toolbox and Fireside Adventuresjeff-willis

As a skilled energetic facilitator and speaker, Jeff has spent over 25 years working with a variety of organizations using supportive, innovative and experiential techniques to improve team collaboration and staff effectiveness. His passion is derived from his breadth of understanding of experiential education, his various senior roles within the outdoor recreation industry, successful entrepreneurial endeavors and a committed community advocate.

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michelle pockey award winner 2023

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