Youth Explore Wilderness and Culture at the Passamaquoddy Boys & Girls Club

With autumn underway, youth from the Passamaquoddy Boys & Girls Club in Indian Township, ME are reminiscing about summer. Club members traveled to two camps this summer that allowed them to explore the scenic forest lands and waterways of Maine’s wilderness. By the glamorous sea sides of Winter Harbor, ME a total of 60 youth attended Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), where they participated in sessions on identifying medicinal and edible Native plants and on orienteering with maps and compasses. The weeklong camp was a cultural exchange program with guests from reservations in New York (Onondaga, Mohawk, and Seneca).

The Passamaquoddy youth also joined in Back to Basics, a camp held in Houlton, ME that focused on alcohol and drug prevention, safe dating, and many other topics that plague many tribal communities today. Coordinated by the University of Maine - Bangor, Back to Basics brings together youth from various reservations with college students who provide mentorship on transitioning from reservation life to college. Kyle Lolar, who currently serves as a Boys & Girls Club in Indian Country AmeriCorps* VISTA member at the Passamaquoddy Club, recruited youth to participate in the camp this year, and facilitated some programming. He first got involved in the camp while still a student at the University of Maine. Through his participation, he met peers from other reservations who are also still involved with the camp today.

“This camp makes it possible that our tribal youth could become leaders within their own communities and bring awareness home. College Students are able to help youth face what they need to face when they transition away from our reservation into college life. The students assuage their fears. Youth learn that not all of the obstacles they imagine are real.” - Kyle Lolar, VISTA member at the Passamaquoddy Boys & Girls Club

Photo Credit: Kyle Lolar