Lightning Trail Youth Retreat a Success

Northern College News and Events

TIMMINS, ON: From August 11 to 17, 2013, Northern College, in partnership with Hydro One and District School Board Ontario North East hosted Lighting Trail, a summer retreat for Aboriginal youth at the Timmins Campus.

29 First Nation, Metis and Inuit students between the ages of 12 and 18 attended the retreat. Originally conceived as an event to introduce attendees to trades and technology while building confidence, leadership skills and cultural understanding, Northern College expanded the scope of the retreat to include additions to attendees’ college transcripts. All attendees who participated in 80% or more of the retreat’s workshops, activities and teachings received a Certificate of Completion for Lightning Trail issued by Northern College.

In addition, three Lightning Trail participants were awarded $1,500 Northern College Hydro One Aboriginal Leadership Entrance Bursaries, which can be applied to tuition costs should they enroll in one of the Electrical Engineering Technician, Electrical Engineering Technology or Civil Engineering Technology programs at Northern College. Curtis Dobson, Kaylan Innes and Samuel Kloetstra were presented the bursaries in recognition of their work in planning, designing and coordinating the retreat, as well serving as leaders to the attendees. These leaders also established the Nish Olympics, a series of events held at Lightning Trail, which included an obstacle course designed to resemble hunting, a fire building and tea boiling exercise, and a canoe race.

Other events at Lightning Trail included workshops in residential wiring, welding and instrumentation, as well as tours of Northern College and the Timmins Native Friendship Centre. Cultural events at the retreat included the sharing of wisdom on the seven grandfather teachings, sacred fire, medicine wheel and rites of passage.

“The attendees of Lightning Trail enjoyed the retreat’s mix of indigenous knowledge and technical workshops. The self esteem and confidence of the attendees grew as they created friendships and engaged in new experiences,” said Christine Heavens, Manager of Northern College’s School of Engineering Technology and Trades. “The retreat was a huge success.”

Guest speakers Wab Kinew, host of CBC’s The 8th Fire and Shy-Anne, an award-winning country music artist, were integral to Lightning Trail’s success. These speakers shared their personal stories of hardships and success, and provided messages of encouragement to attendees.

medicine wheel

Medicine Wheel: Lightning trail participants and ambassadors gather to form a medicine wheel.

bursary winners

Northern College Hydro One Aboriginal Leadership Entrance Bursary winners from left to right: Samuel Kloestra, Kaylan Innes and Curtis Dobson.


Media Contact:
Crystal Bresson
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology
705.235.3211 ext. 2253