Mind Over Metal welding camp sparks interest with Mi’kmaw youth

A four-day welding camp, the first of it’s kind in Nova Scotia, was held at the Strait Area Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in August. The

camp, which was part of a program offered by CWB Welding Foundation, blends learning the trades with traditional teachings.

 Twelve Mi’kmaw youth, ages 12-15 took part in the camp, which taught them how to weld several items, including an eel spear.

 “I liked learning how to weld,” said Maya Johnson, 12, of Potlotek. “It was kind of scary at first with all the sparks flying in your face but then it was cool watching the metal stick together.”

 The group spent their days at the NSCC campus in Port Hawkesbury learning the trade, and spent their evenings at a camp in Orangedale, taking part in traditional activities with different elders each night.

 “The cultural component to this and every camp we offer is so important,” explained Ann Sylliboy, Post Secondary coordinator with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey. “We believe that our youth need a strong sense of identity, to be proud to be L’nu, so we ensure that they spend time with elders every chance we get.”

 The camp was put on by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and was also funded in part by the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency.

 “ The Mind over Metal camp was a huge success”, said Jude Gerrard, Chief Diversity Officer with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency. “”Participants were able to gain hands-on experience in the welding shop and see trades as a viable career. We are hoping this is something that can be replicated to expose youth to other skilled trades as well.”

 Because of the success of this camp, there are plans to offer it again next year