31 January, 2024

A Look at Our Trail Crew Training Program with Outland Youth Employment Group

Trail Crew Training team

In July 2023, Eleanor McMahon, our President & CEO, headed to Quetico Provincial Park in Northern Ontario to spend time at the Outland Youth Employment Program’s cohort of Indigenous youth who were taking part in our Trail Crew Building training. She was accompanied by Trans Canada Trail staff members Raquel Healey and Jennifer Mahon.

Working with Indigenous youth as part of our Trail Builders of Tomorrow program

Eleanor McMahon with a Trail Builders of tomorrow program member

This weeklong training along the Trans Canada Trail is part of our larger Trail Builders of Tomorrow program. It was developed in partnership with Outland Dexterra and Trans Canada Trail. Throughout a six-week program for Indigenous high school students, we offer a weeklong Trail Crew Training experience, in which youth learn in the field, trail building, repairing boardwalks and constructing benches, and more. Participants receive a certificate in Trail Crew Training upon completion of the week.

“We don’t own the land. We steward the land. And so, starting now, to engage and be inspired by the next generation … is really what the Trail Builders of Tomorrow program is all about. It’s an initiative run by Trans Canada Trail to invest in that next generation. It’s been terrific to see how the Trail Builders of Tomorrow program in action right here in the OYEP program,” says Eleanor.

Here’s what participants had to say

Indigenous high school students working on a trail for the OYEP program

Meghan Jourdain, Fort William First Nation: “This is my eighth year with OYEP … my role is to mentor, lead the group – the youth – with different tasks throughout the day. One of the main ones is boardwalk building. Also, laying out wood chips along the trails, which makes it more comfortable and accessible for visitors and for hikers.”

Jianne Turtle, Grassy Narrows First Nation: “This is my first year here. Could have been my second, but I didn’t put myself first back then. But now I am, and I love it here and it’s really good.”

Alex Boshey, Lac Lacroix First Nation: “The thing that inspired me to join this program is that it was like a nice program close to my hometown in Atikokan … I can learn new skills and go to my communities and help them out with trail building because I have the knowledge from this program.”

Watch the video here

Stay tuned for updates about OYEP’s 2024 programming!