Community Stories:

Big Horn - Engaging Families in Outdoor Fun

Big Horn is a small First Nations community located several hours away from the main tribal headquarters in Morley, Alberta.

Big Horn has a Wellness Committee that consists of members from the community, AHS, school administration from Ta-Otha School, Big Horn Health Centre staff, and other local service providers from the Rocky Mountain House area. This group aims to promote a feeling of belonging within their community. In the spring of 2018, ideas to deepen the connections between families and members of this small First Nation community were discussed and planning began to provide a fun way to engage the community in cultural teaching.

One of the activities planned was a Family and Youth Revitalization Camp. The purpose of this cultural family camp was to bring families together for 4 days. Land based learnings were the focus, this includes being out in nature and away from outside influences, providing experiential activities such as camping, archery, campfire cooking, horseback riding, arts and crafts, campfire songs and stories, fishing, hunting, and mountain biking.  

All families within the community were invited to take part in the camp. Extended families were also encouraged and invited to attend. The first camp had 43 children and 40 adults sign up! Families gathered and set up camp in an isolated area nestled in the Rocky Mountains, approximately 1 hour west of Nordegg Alberta.  Tents, tee-pee’s activities and supplies for the activities and food were provided. One of the challenges with the remote location was making sure there was enough food for everyone and that food was properly stored as caution was needed in case of bears and other wildlife.

Community members including youth, children, adults and Elders, were invited to assist in the planning of the Family Camp. Many suggestions and ideas were given. One of the children suggested a spray park. The committee did not see this as an attainable goal, but much to everyone’s surprise a spray park was created in the midst of nowhere! This was created by a trash pump being placed in a nearby creek and operated by a generator. A fire hose was then attached to the pump and held in place for the water to spray over a large area that was covered by a huge tarp which was anchored to the ground. Everyone young and old enjoyed the water park as the weather was between 28C and 30C.

Of the many things learned over those 4 days we realized that with a community standing together such an event can happen. The team work of all that attended and doing their part during our stay made this camp possible. This showed the youth and community that anything is attainable when we all work together!

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