Dawson City beaders win $11K to help with flower power pin project

A Yukon beading group showing support for front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic has just received some support of their own.

Their "fireweed heroes" pins signal support and appreciation for the sacrifice countless health workers have made since the start of the pandemic.

"It means something to us making them and I hope that they get that from each pin," Kyla Popadynec said.

Popadynec, who lives in Dawson City, Yukon, got the idea for the pins at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the reality of what was happening began to sink in — and she wanted a way to say thank you to front-line health workers. What began as a simple idea has grown to involve many volunteers and supporters.

Chris MacIntyre/CBC

The Fireweed Heroes beading group has been awarded two grants which will allow them to continue creating fireweed flower pins — Yukon's floral emblem — for front-line workers.

The funding comes from the On Yukon Time grant and the Culture Quest grant through the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture. Each grant is for $5,000. 

The group was also given $1,000 from RBC and featured on an RBC's Random Acts of Kindness clip on television.

The funding will go toward making more kits for Whitehorse and Yukon communities, reimbursing individuals that shared their beading materials, and printing cards.

Although restrictions are easing around Yukon, production of the fireweed flower pins will not stop.

The Fireweed Heroes formed in March and currently have representatives in every Yukon community but two. Beaders are also in Alaska, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Ontario. 

Ontario has started producing its own pins with the Trillium, that province's flower. 

"It's just amazing to think that that idea could reach so many points and even outside of Canada and I think the people enjoyed it and wanted to spread it," Popadynec said.

"No idea is too small."