Fundraising for the trip of a lifetime at the Kahnawake Youth Center

The last thing you want to do during two weeks of winter fun is to wish time away, but with a sunny trip to the South Pacific to look forward to in 2024, some community youth may already be doing just that.

In the here and now, however, the Kahnawake Youth Center (KYC) is hoping a 50/50 draw at this year’s Winter Carnival will help ensure the 12-day excursion is enjoyed by as many Kahnawa’kehró:non youth as possible.

“We are currently fundraising to be able to make it accessible to all youth to be able to come with us,” said Ruby McComber, who noted that some young Kahnawa’kehró:non don’t have the opportunity to experience trips like this with their families due to the expense.

“Just to get out of town is such an experience for them,” she said.

The itinerary for the trip includes Australia, New Zealand, and Cook Island and will take place during March break 2024.

“As a parent I am excited for every youth who is able to participate in exploring the South Pacific and given the opportunity to participate in such adventures,” said Audrey Rice, whose daughter is registered for the trip.

“I ​​feel it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that students should join in on the experience without hesitation. Who knows if this will ever be available for them again?” she said.

Rice is hopeful that her daughter will relish the experience, given her passion for learning and exploration.

“We are all excited for her. She is excited,” said Rice.

McComber hopes the trip will double as an opportunity for cultural exchange. She plans to host workshops to teach youth more about Kanien’kehá:ka culture to prepare them to share what Kahnawake has to offer with the Indigenous communities the group will visit.

Youth who will be 15-18 years old in 2024 are eligible to go on the trip, and enrollment is still open. Each time the list of attendees grows, however, the fundraising goal increases with it.

According to McComber, as of this week the youth centre has raised $11,000 for the trip, far short of the current goal of $90,000.

“We’ll be fundraising all year round all the way until departure,” said McComber.

Tickets for the draw are on sale at Winter Carnival events, with a winner to be selected on January 28 at the KSCS Music and Lip Sync Extravaganza.

Marcus Bankuti, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door