Yukon groups get more than $68K for programs supporting marginalized youth

·3 min read
Freedom Trails Therapeutic Riding Association is one of 16 organizations to get some of the funding. (Submitted by Judy Fortin - image credit)
Freedom Trails Therapeutic Riding Association is one of 16 organizations to get some of the funding. (Submitted by Judy Fortin - image credit)

Sixteen organizations across Yukon are sharing more than $68,000 in funding to go toward supporting Yukon's marginalized youth.

The money comes from the Youth Investment Fund, which is administered by the youth directorate, a branch of the territorial government's executive council office.

The Youth Investment Fund provides financial support twice a year, to short-term projects aimed at youth under 19 years old with limited opportunities.

Each of the organizations were notified earlier this month, letting them know that they would be receiving amounts between $501 and $5,000.

Therapeutic horseback riding

The Freedom Trails Therapeutic Riding Association has been offering therapeutic horseback riding for 25 years.

When the program was first created the association only had one horse, one volunteer and six riders.

Now they have a few more horses, 30 volunteers and 40 riders.

Judy Fortin, the organization's executive director, says this is the only program of its kind in Yukon.

"We're offering a service for people with a disability. It could be cognitive challenges, physical challenges, emotional challenges," she said.

"The connection with the horse is good for the spirit and emotional issues."

The funding has been invaluable. - Michelle Beckley, keish camp

Fortin says riding the horses provide physical benefits for riders with ambulatory problems.

"There's mobility, balance and coordination, improvement of muscle tone, strength and posture."

The organization received a total of $4,500.

"They've been good to us for several years. It's really nice to get the continued support," Fortin said.

The money will be spent on covering wages, and used to grow the program.

"The benefits are best observed by the long wait list we have. We have over 40 people on our wait list," Fortin says.

"Riding horses is a good physiotherapy and it's more fun than perhaps going to a physiotherapist in a clinic."

Keish camp

The Skookum Jim Friendship Centre in Whitehorse received $4,700 of funding to go toward it's summer keish camp.

The keish camp is a day camp for children aged six to 14.

Targeting First Nation youth around Whitehorse, the camp offers free programs like archery, canoeing, and land-based activities.

Seven tents and a generator were stolen sometime over the winter from a storage locker belonging to the Traditional Parenting Program at the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre in Whitehorse.
Seven tents and a generator were stolen sometime over the winter from a storage locker belonging to the Traditional Parenting Program at the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre in Whitehorse.(CBC)

Michelle Beckley is helping to plan the keish camp.

"I'm hoping to get someone in to teach them about trapping, snare making and basically offer the kids traditional sports and activities," she explained.

Beckley says last year's camps were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year the keish camp will start on June 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

She says receiving this funding will enable them to provide hands-on experiences and opportunities for youth they may not have otherwise.

"The funding has been invaluable," she said.

"We wouldn't be able to run our programming if it wasn't for the amazing funding opportunities in the Yukon."