The first annual Sa’Be Bush Crawl at the Kenora Chiefs Advisory’s Youth and Family Wellness Camp was a resounding success!

Despite a bit of wet weather, several community members came out and ran a five-kilometre bush trail and obstacle course with their friends and family – climbing tires and haybales, going down slip n’ slides, through pipes and much more – all hosted by Ogimaawabiitong on September 24.

“The weather was a little cold, but it turned out to be such a great day!” explains Operations Manager of the KCA Youth and Family Wellness Camp, Serena Kenny.

But the race wasn’t the only activity throughout the day – after opening ceremonies from Elder Allan White and drumming with our Grandmother Drum, Shawanoong Banaise’seek, Shadow Junction took centre stage to kick the morning off, with Summer Jade later in the afternoon.

Throughout the day, families were able to enjoy a variety of games and craft activities, including pumpkin painting, a bouncy castle and inflatable slide, a playground, and lawn games hosted by the Kenora Rotary Club.

Guests also got to see the wares of a variety of local vendors through a Crafters Market, to visit the Ojibwe Spirit Horses, chickens, ducks and more with the camp’s Equine team, and were able to get lunch through a charity barbecue hosted by volunteer staff from the Log Cabin Tavern and KCA.

Ultimately, the day’s events were all in support of a fundraiser to build a playground at the KCA property in honour of the children that attended residential schools, for the ones who survived, and the ones who never made it home.

“Residential schools were places where First Nations kids were taken from their homes and their families, and they lost the opportunity to play. So, we want to create a space of safety for everyone to come together, have fun and be happy,” Kenny explains.

“I think that’s the best way to honour our survivors, to show them that there’s a good life going forward and we’re going to help everyone we can at the Wellness Camp,” she adds.

Ogimaawabiitong would once again like to send a huge Miigwetch to our community partners: Wabaseemoong Child Welfare Agency, the Log Cabin Tavern, Copperfin Credit Union, Wholesale Club, Weyerhauser, Sunset Inn, Kenora Kinsmen, Kenora Safeway, Sysco, Dufresne’s, Lake of the Woods Speedway, Keewatin Place, Kenora Rotary Club, Kal Tire, Jarnel Contracting, the Kenora Devil’s Gap Islanders, and the PUFF Fire Hall for their sponsorship.

We also send Miigwetch’s to Shadow Junction and Summer Jade for their music, the Lake of the Woods Speedway for allowing guest parking on their property, our staff and volunteers for their hard work, and the Lawson Foundation for their continued support.

“A great big Miigwetch to everyone who helped put this event on, our sponsors, staff, volunteers, and the Lawson Foundation for everything,” adds Kenny. “It was a big success today and we would love to continue this through the years. It’ll just get bigger and better.”

We can’t wait to see you again next year at the KCA Youth and Family Wellness Camp!

A little cultural background on Sa’Be – One of the seven grandfather teachings is Honesty, represented by the Sa’Be. The Sa’Be is a spirit/protector who is a symbol of honesty. The Sa’Be represents honesty because it is believed that the Sa’Be used to walk among humans to remind us to remain true to our nature. The Sa’Be keeps us aware of being ourselves, and not someone we are not.