Youth Supporting Youth

September 19, 2016

By: Katelyn Gruyere, Fort Frances Sprout Ideas Camp

My name is Katelyn Bruyere and this year I attended the Sprout Ideas Camp in Fort Frances, Ontario. We created the movement, Youth Supporting Youth (YSY). It is a group aimed at empowering the youth in our district to create change. We wanted to focus on the lack of awareness for mental health and mental illness.


At the camp we learned about many different techniques and processes that would help us improve our leadership skills and become more passionate about our movement. For one activity, we created a mental health target that showed what we thought mental health was, what resources are available, and what we believed YSY could do to address these challenges. In another activity we planned different events that YSY could organize to bring awareness to the mental health stigma while promoting our movement.

There were also guest speakers that we talked with from the local community. Some came from the United Native Friendship Centre and the others from the Northwest Business Centre. They shared different opportunities available in our district for aspiring entrepreneurs that I had not known about previously. We also had video chats with some other speakers via Skype. We talked with Edgar and Adrian from Taking It Global.


We also had the opportunity to talk with some students from Arviat, Nunavut. Talking to the students from Arviat was an amazing experience because even though our communities are far apart we both have similar icommunity issues. Both groups gave great advice to one another. Meeting people from a faraway community was a highlight of the camp for me. It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to work with a group of individuals that were passionate about our movement and also determined to create change in the community.


The camp opened my eyes to the lack of awareness about mental health and mental illness in our area. Before camp, I had not known about the numerous therapists and resources that my town had to offer to support people struggling with mental illness. That is why we believe that our movement is important, awareness. The importance of mental health is not a subject that is talked about enough. Even though there are mental health support systems for many people who need them, not enough people are aware of these services. 

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