Embracing Life

Wellness & Life Promotion.

Youth Voice

Embracing life recognizes the importance of the youth voice, not just listening to it, but amplifying it and giving our northern youth the opportunity to share their vision, thoughts and solutions to what they see in their everyday life.
Embracing life has continued to engage young people each year to determine strategic direction, work plans and the priorities in which project work is based.
An example of this engagement is when we met with twenty-five young adults ranging from 17-29 representing thirteen communities across northern Saskatchewan at a youth networking session. The youth networking sessions were delivered and executed by young adults for young adults, where they worked amongst themselves, to develop their message to present to the Embracing Life Committee the next day. Each group of young adults were asked to work in collaboration with one another, the main questions we asked them was:

Wellness & Life Promotion.

What are the trends and issues impacting the work of Embracing Life?”

When we asked this question, although different communities worked in different groups, there was a consensus that these issues were not specific to just one northern community, and that many of our youth representatives saw consistent trends in their home communities.

Negative Trends


Troubling numbers of youth attempting suicide or committing suicide

  • Increase in self- harm (ie. Cutting)
  • Young girls and suicide ideation

Increased Youth voice in northern communities

Substance abuse

  • More young people selling drugs

More men are joining the conversation

Lack of support from healthy people in their community

Increased focus on training


Looking at more peer support opportunities

Lack of housing/ overcrowding

Realization that reliance on therapists is too narrow

Influence of social media/ online bullying

Creating a better sense of belonging with the land – land-based teachings

Intergenerational Trauma

Realization that reliance on therapists is too narrow

Decrease in community volunteers

Lack of respect

Lack of access to treatment

After this discussion, creating the list of negative and positive trends throughout northern communities, we went back to the young people to reflect on what their vision was and how we can move forward, acknowledging that we need the youth to see hope and opportunities for success.

It is imperative for us, as agencies and partners to vale the youth voice and work to support them in the implementation of what they deem as important. The youth representatives from a cross 13 communities independently evaluated priorities they felt were important to northern communities and presented these to the Embracing Life membership.

The summary below was put together based on the commonalities of the youth representative presentations to the membership. They were divided into themes: Empowerment and Engagement, and from there Engagement has been divided into cultural activities and other programming.

This list, as shown below, was presented to the group as the priorities from the youth representation and the membership. We then highlighted, the initiatives that matched with Embracing Life’s strategic plan.

Empowerment & Engagement



Youth Action Councils
Sweats/ Pow Wow’s
Family nights
More established youth leadership role
Cultural Camps
Non-alcoholic community events
Develop/ Support youth skills
Language Revitalization
Youth centered activities
Sober House – working towards dry/drier reserves
Evening programming
Proposal writing/ Planning
Ceremonies & Medicine teachings
More accessibility for men – homeless shelters
James Anderson – Leadership from the heart
Traditional dance, song and drumming
Food security
Building relationships
Holistic approaches
Anti-gang awareness/program
More coordination between Elders & Youth
Land-based healing

The membership – a combination of youth representatives, agencies and working professionals chose 3 priorities for our action plan in the coming year, they are:

Youth Action Councils

Youth Action Councils

Setting up YAC’s and assisting youth to connect to each other and leadership

Skills for Youth

Skills for Youth

Professional development and skills training, including traditional and land-based

Communication/ Social Media Strategy

Communication/ Social Media Strategy

  • Communication between agencies, communities
  • To develop a way to get more information about Embracing Life out to northern communities.

Natural Supports

Developing natural supports is an important part of humanity; people who have a vested interest in your wellbeing.

Embracing Life is working on creating more tools for natural supports to have, so when someone is not doing well, more people can work to support someone who is struggling.

How do people develop natural supports?
Participate in community events
Join clubs, groups and teams
Socialize with your neighbors and neighborhoods
Getting a job; breaks with your co-workers
Engaging in a hobby or class with others

Developing natural supports is an important part of humanity; people who have a vested interest in your wellbeing.

Embracing Life is working on creating more tools for natural supports to have, so when someone is not doing well, more people can work to support someone who is struggling.

Traditional & Cultural Learning

Embracing life partners have been working in Land based programming for a number of years. The programming began with the idea of helping youth to learn and discover their cultural identity by using cultural and traditional land-based and holistic customs based on the medicine wheel. While outdoors and participating in hands on learning, youth shared their struggles, grief, hopes and dreams with those around them.

Land based learning has progressed to providing an opportunity to offer healing as well as cultural and connections to the land. This was a natural progression as youth began to open up, so helping youth to grieve and heal seemed like something that was missing. With a strong focus on healing, youth feel empowered, positive and ready to go back and get involved in their own future.

The expansion of the land based programming has youth engaged; with blended teaching of holistic and natural ways with coping skills and the importance of self-care. This has also been an amazing opportunity to connect youth to Elders and Elder teachings to have positive intergenerational interactions. The positive responses of youth have been heartwarming; the youth have not only gained life skills, but they have created relationships to stand with other youth in a safe space and be able to ask for help when they need it.

For more information please call PAGC Holistic Wellness 306-953-7285