Fort McKay Wellness Centre
Fort McKay Wellness Center programs help children and youth become caring, self directed individuals responsible to themselves, their families, and their communities. We accomplish this by utilizing staff and volunteers to offer programs providing skill building, self reliance, and personal development, cultural education and activities, recreation, environmental and community awareness. Fort McKay Weliness Center serves all youth (ages 6-18 years) who reflect the rich diversity of our community.
The Fort McKay Women’s Association (FMWA) is a non- profit group in the community with its primary concern being to enhance and assist in the health and weliness of all its community members. FMWA has secured funding through Human Resources Canada and Commissioner of Children’s Services with the program Early Intervention. This provides funding for two full time staff or one full time staff and two part time staff at the Weliness Center. The primary goal of the project is to provide programming and activities for community members between the ages of 6 to 18 years old, as well as providing crisis intervention, educational and prevention based programs, and program design and implementation for this age group.
The Wellness Centre has been a full time Drop-In Centre for yourth since July 1998. Some of our activities have included:
The Wellness Centre has reached the place of growth where it can offer more involved and innovative programs with the use of Early Intervestion staff, role models, and community volunteers.
Bonnie Hodge: Bonnie received her educational training in Ontario with a B. Th in Cultural Studies and continued her education in the pursuit of a Masters in Pastoral Counseling. She returned to her home province of Newfoundland in 1991 to become a youth and child speaker / entertainer. It was there that she had the opportunity to gain experience and interest in crisis counseling and intervention area. Bonnie began working in Fort McKay in 1998 as a Youth/Child Intervention worker. In 1999, she also took on the responsibility of administration of the Fort McKay Weliness Center and the Fort McKay Women’s Association (non-Profit). Bonnie is currently pursuing a B.A. in Social Development from the University of Waterloo. Her goals include becoming more knowledgeable in the area of prevention and development of programs in life skills and resiliency to promote positive life choices in Adolescence.
Tonya Swift: Tonya moved to Fort McMurray in 1998 with her husband, Podney. Since in Fort McMurray, she has worked with the Boys and Girls Club, and Trend College, before coming to work at the Weliness Center. Tonya received a Bachelor of Peiigious Education from E.P.B.C and is pursuing a BA in Social Development from the University of Waterloo. Tonya and her husband enjoy building positive relationships with youth through camping trips, drama, kayaking trips, social events, as well as being involved in her church as a Youth Leader. Tonya’s long-term goal is to develop programming for adolescent girls to gain spiritual, community and self-awareness through group discussions and positive female role models.
Our thanks to the partners in the program who helped to make it such a success: Fort McKay Community Enhancement Fund, Northland School Board, Shell Canada (Albian Sands), Syncrude, Suncor, FCSS, Moms of MckYa, Fort McKay Youth Council, Fort McKay First Nation, Fort McKay Group of Companies, and Fort McKay Women’s Association. The program consisted of three areas:
1. Camp McKay
This was a day program for ages 4 to 11 years old. There were five youth and two college students hired to assist with this program and 65 children registered throughout the summer. We began with a blast in the Canada Day Parade where we won first prize in the "Best Decorated Vehicle" category! The day program ran Monday to Friday from 9a.m. to 4p.m. Each Thursday there was a field trip to town park or event, or a trip to Gregoire Lake which were filled with games, laughter, marshmallows and campfires, as well and mosquito bites and rain. The Day Program itself consisted of the following area: crafts, recreation, discovery zone (education), Bill Nye the Scien Guy (science experience… how big can you make a volcano and lots of lava lumps), life skills, sharing circle, story time, cooking lessons, outdoor play, and computer fun.
2. Coaches Program
This is life skills training program for ages 12 to 14 years old. There were approximately 15 enrolled in this program. They were required to participate in 12 to 15 hours of taining a week. At the conclusion of the summer they received an horoarium for their participation, as well as a certifate for completing or being involved in the program. The life skills discussed were task completion, respect, decision making, problem solving, team building, positive self concept and self-management.
3. Recreation Program
This program occured up to four nights a week at Fort McKay. It includede basketball, street hocky, baseball, as well as the Wellness Centre being open for youth in the evening to watch movies, get on the Internet, have a campfire, or just hang out.