First-ever Indigenous entrepreneur youth camp held in Fort St. John

Local Indigenous youth took part in the first-ever Indigenous entrepreneur camp in Fort St. John last week to enhance and develop their business skills.

The Bears Lair Youth Weekend Dream Camp was held at the Treaty 8 Tribal Association building from February 24th to February 26th to provide tools and educational skills for Indigenous youth aged 12 to 18.

"Over three fun-filled, interactive days, Youth work in teams with Coaches/Mentors to tackle five team challenges, boost their confidence and develop ‘Business FUNdamentals’ skills," reads a summary of the camp on Bears Lair's website.

Bears Lair TV is based in Vancouver and hosted the camp with the support of local First Nation communities and other industry sponsors. Doig River First Nation was one of the main sponsors of the youth camp.

Doig River band manager Shona Nelson said the camp is an excellent opportunity for Indigenous kids to connect with business leaders.

Nelson believes in Indigenous youth’s potential and said, “youth camps like these encourage Indigenous youth to channel their skills and gain confidence in the real world.”

Nelson explained that the youth camp aims to allow Indigenous kids to connect with their culture and traditions.

“Showcasing successful Indigenous leaders and learning from them allows our kids to be proud of their Indigenous identity,” said Nelson.

The youth camp concluded with a community celebration on February 27th at the Lido theatre in Fort St. John.

Nelson said the First Nation would continue supporting initiatives that allow Indigenous kids to break the social and economic barriers by providing them with the opportunities and resources to succeed.

Aside from hosting the youth dream camps, the Bears Lair TV team is well-known for creating a reality show on APTN featuring entrepreneurs as they pitch their business plans for a chance to win $180,000.

Manavpreet Singh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,