A Truly Phenomenal Summer Camp Experience

Summer Camp at RRC

Meet JaAnne. An outgoing, curious and insightful young person heading into Grade 8 this fall. When asked what she’s most excited about for the coming school year she replied, “I’m excited about my math class!” For real, a direct quote 😊 JaAnne had a Math Teacher that promised her by the end of the last school year she would like and enjoy doing math – promise kept!

For 3 weeks this summer, JaAnne took part in Career Trek’s camp programming – she spent a week at Trades Camp. This camp ran in collaboration with the Manitoba Building Trades Institute and the Indigenous Relations Department at the City of Winnipeg. While at camp she learned about Urban Agriculture and Aquaponics; she tried her hand at a variety of stations in the Trades Hall, giving her an opportunity to get a feel for what it would be like to be a Pipefitter, Sheet Metal Worker, Bricklayer, Heavy Equipment Operator and so much more. In the carpentry shop, JaAnne learned about and used tools such as a tape measure, hand sander, table saw, drill and nail gun. She did all of this so she could build herself a wall hanging planter that became home to newly acquired succulents. On the final day of camp, after learning about building and trades from a western perspective, JaAnne and her fellow campers spent time with Elders, Helpers and a Drum Group to learn about building from an Indigenous perspective. JaAnne worked to set up a tipi and once standing, spent time inside learning about the importance of the tipi and its teachings. JaAnne and the rest of the campers were very engaged in the session and fascinated by what they learned.

The second week of camp was all about Culinary Arts. Day 1 JaAnne and her fellow campers spent time with Kookum Joan at Jane’s Kitchen, part RRC Polytech’s Exchange District Campus. Kookum Joan taught the campers how to make bannock and shared inspirational stories. Day 2 JaAnne and her fellow campers had the opportunity to tour Sysco’s warehouse; one of the world’s global food serving companies, to learn about the work they do to distribute food and non-food products around the world. JaAnne also got to spend some time with Chef Alton and Chef Andrew (Sysco’s employees) to hear their career stories. The campers were taught some basic knife skills; how to hold the knife, and techniques for chopping, dicing, slicing and cutting all while learning how to make a Greek Salad. The camp came to a wrap with a virtual session with a few more of Syco’s employees, each sharing their career stories, what they learned along the way and about the many opportunities available within the company.

For the third and final week, it was all things Entrepreneurship. JaAnne spent time learning from a local Indigenous community member who talked to campers about ribbon skirts and ribbon shirts, the significance of them, why they are worn, and when they are worn, all while teaching them how to sew their own. Later in the week Ja-Anne and the group visited Glady’s Caribbean Kitchen where they gained greater insight into what it takes to be an entrepreneur and a local restaurant owner. One of the co-owners shared her experience that included everything from planning and preparing the meals, ordering ingredients and food items, ensuring excellent customer service, administration, restaurant management and the challenges of hiring and retaining staff especially for small businesses. To cap off their visit campers and staff enjoyed a delicious lunch of Jerk chicken, rice, peas, and mixed vegetables-prepared by the restaurant’s chef.

As part of this final week, JaAnne visited MC College –Canada’s leading educator in hairstyling, esthetics and fashion design. Campers toured the different stations and got a first-hand glimpse into the variety of options available. As part of the experience, campers had the opportunity to meet the 2022 graduating class they finished their last week of school. Many shared testimonials of the programs and showcased their final project for an upcoming fashion show happening in October.

As a bonus campers were given a personalized manicure and a hand massage along with a beauty supply goody bag which Ja-Anne was thrilled about! The camp concluded with a talk from Heather Neale-a Winnipeg-based costume designer. Heather brought her professional portfolio and presented the work she’s done in film and tv. She shared various stories from “the set” and what it looks like to work in the film industry.

JaAnne along with the rest of the campers loved the experience and the opportunity they had to interact with people from diverse populations and all said they couldn’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s summer camp!

Here’s what JaAnne had to say about her experience with Career Trek this summer, what she liked and what she learned:

“The overall experience was nice, we got to see things firsthand, how they did it, and different cultures. Things I liked from the first week was the tractor simulator and putting up a tipi. From the second week I liked making Bannock and having a tour around Sysco, and the third week I liked all of it!!

What really stuck with me was when a movie stylist came in and talked about what goes on behind the scenes and how they came up with ideas and what it was like working on set with the hair stylists, camera operators and directors. I love fashion and it made me think about doing it in the future. I totally recommend this camp to other youths, you’ll love it, fun but you are also learning. So, take the opportunity even just for the experience you won’t be disappointed.”

Her parents also shared their thoughts about JaAnne’s experience this summer, “We would like to thank Career Trek for the wonderful experience JaAnne had at summer camp. She looked forward to each day with a sense of excitement and spoke happily about her activities/experiences each day. She was most fascinated with the sewing classes, she is very proud of the ribbon skirt she made and is thinking whether she will pursue a career in Fashion Designing or a Scientist. She spoke highly of the camp staff who ensured that everyone was engaged and had lots of fun. Thank you.”

“Opportunities like these are so important for young people. Having the chance to explore careers in a very real way, to gain insight, to experience the vast array of opportunity and diversity that exists and to meet people actually working in different fields creates the space and freedom for youth to be thinking about their future and the endless possibilities that exist,” says Nickoya Jones, Career Trek’s Manager, Youth Initiatives. “It’s these kinds of diverse and real-life experiences that Career Trek will continue to provide to ensure young people have the tools and resources they need to make informed career decisions.”