4-H Ontario is excited to be engaged in a new partnership with Beausoliel First Nations. Beausoliel First Nations is located on Christian Island on the southern tip of Georgian Bay.
In March 2016, Matt Hill, Coordinator, Volunteer Support Region 1 & First Nations Engagement with 4-H Ontario was approached by a Beausoliel First Nations Community member who, after viewing the 4-H Ontario website, recognized the value in what 4-H offers youth. This connection resulted in 4-H Ontario supporting a grant application to fund a program to engage Beausoliel First Nations youth in helping to transition to high school. The purpose of the funding application (Ontario Trillium Foundation) was to provide support in indigenizing 4-H resources for First Nations youth. The ultimate outcome of the program is to see higher high school graduation rates for First Nations youth.
The funding application was approved and Beausoliel First Nations moved forward in hiring a project coordinator. In early August, 2016, Hill along with fellow 4-H Ontario stafff member Evelyn Chambers, Senior Manager, Volunteer & Community Engagement, met with the Project Coordinator Sarah Sandy and Nancy Assance, Senior Council Staff to further discuss how to integrate 4-H resources into First Nations activities and youth program curriculum.
This initial meeting has further led to the recruitment of several community members to be 4-H volunteers. Matt Hill travelled to Beausoliel First Nations in October and conducted a 4-H Ontario New Volunteer Orientation session with several interested participants of which three followed up with applications and are working through the 4-H volunteer screening process.
The long-term goal is to implement 4-H into Professional Development Days, weekend activities and into other youth and health services offered through the Beausoliel First Nations Council. In doing so, the goal is to further continue to build success for First Nations youth.
The partnership between 4-H Ontario and Beausoleil First Nations will hopefully open doors for other First Nations communities across Ontario to realize the value of the 4-H program for their youth and communities.