Several Secwépemc families took part in a Family Equine Fun Day hosted at the Flying Rooster Farm near 100 Mile House last Thursday.
The event was organized by McLayne Bennett, Youth Counselor for the Three Corners Health Services Society. Bennett said she primarily focuses on the mental health of families and children and does her best to organize recreational opportunities that promote connection and mental health.
“We wanted to offer families a fun activity for them to connect with their kids on,” Bennett said. “Horses have a general healing factor about them, so I think it helps promote well-being while having a fun day.”
Those who attended got the chance to pet horses, paint them and go on a trail ride around the farm.
Sadie Jeff brought her children and their cousins to the fun day from Canoe Creek. Jeff said she’s trying to do more with her kids during the summer and thought this would be a perfect opportunity.
“I think it gives kids an opportunity to do stuff outside of their community and it’s really helpful for us because we have a big family,” Jeff said. “My daughters and my sons were pretty excited about it.”
Jeff said she especially appreciates that her son Mason, who has cerebral palsy, was able to take part in the program. Because of his disability, he can’t do as much as the other children, so any chance to include him is a welcome one.
“I’m thankful we can come as a family and come do stuff together,” Jeff said.
Bennett said she is currently organizing two youth camps in August at Educo Adventure School, with the support of the Denisiqi Services Society, for members of the T’exelc, Xat’sull, Stswecem’c Xget’tem, Tsq’escenemc, Ulkatcho, Tsideldel, Tl’etinqox, Yunesit’in, Tl’esqox, Xeni Gwet’in and ?Esdilagh. These camps will include traditional culture, such as a sweat lodge and other fun activities. The Tsq’escen’ First Nation (Canim Lake Band) will be sending some cultural workers to help conduct the sweat.
The camps run from Aug. 17 to 22 for youth aged 14 to 17 and Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 for kids aged nine to 13. Bennett remarked they still have a lot of spots open in the camp for teenagers and encourages the community to sign up.
“Last year we did the camp and it was a major success and the kids loved it. The kids I work with still talk about it and it was a year ago now,” Bennett said. “This year they’ll be doing the Educo activities like rock climbing, zip lining, a high ropes course, swimming, a backcountry hike and canoeing.”
Anyone interested in signing up for the camps can contact Bennett at 250-855-8240.