Ten days in a boat to recover from the tragedy of La Locke

On January 22, 2016, a student at La Loche Dene Community High School murdered two boys in a home before going to school, killing two staff members and wounding seven others by gunfire.

The school counselor, Virginia Baby, was already taking care of the man group, which brought together teens who needed extra help to succeed in high school. In her efforts to help these young people, she used to organize nature trips.

The group was already planning the canoe trip when tragedy struck. After this tragic event, Virginia Baby wanted to do something more for the eight boys who are still members of the group. I turned to Les Stroud, outdoor survival expert, known for his TV series Survivor, human. The director agreed to accompany them.

Sixteen months after the tragedy, in May 2017, Aboriginal boys, teachers, and elderly Lee Stroud embark on a canoeing adventure that would become more than just a normal trip for teens.

Les Stroud, who was then an ambassador for the Canadian Scouts, made hundreds of outdoor trips with young people. But when he arrived by floatplane in this small community in northern Saskatchewan, he immediately realized that this time would be different.

It was enough to look around to see what was happening and say to myself: “Am I ready?” Because this time, it will not be simple: it will be emotional and spiritual, and it will have repercussions, says Les Stroud.

He arrived without any specific plan or team to film. It was only him, boys, teachers, elders and a few cameras with which teens could shoot whatever they wanted.

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During these 10 days, Lees Stroud says, he witnessed the transformation of the young participants.

You can see their journey in the film, from their disrespect for tobacco ceremonies, at the beginning, to the end, when they say, ‘I’m going away, I’m moving, I’m going to do something,’ which is amazing.

Participants on the 10-day trip turned into a documentary by Lee Stroud.

Image source: Virginia Beebe

Alex Mendes was teaching these kids at the time. He went on that boat trip and remembers that the teens were still reeling from tragedy when they embarked on that trip. For many, it was still difficult, and you can see it in the movie, He said.

He says the group received basic training from paddle Canada Several months before the trip, however, the youngsters weren’t quite ready for the adventure.

We were trying to cross the lake LloydThe weather was not nice, it was hard to paddle. He says these children were not regularly physically active. We were cold. We were wet. The waves were hitting the boat. We were about to overturn. And there, they actually hit a wall.

But they persisted and worked hard through that tough day, which gave them confidence. The next day they were singing while rowing.

In the film, young people end up opening up: they talk about their family and this disastrous day on January 22, 2016.

The Strouds were shocked by their words and their experience. They painted us a 3D picture of what happened by telling us where they were when it happened. It was terrifying, He said.

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Al Strouds, Barbara Pepe and Alize Mendes saw how nature helped these boys. Their emotions come to the surface when they talk about them.

For Alex Mendes, if this trip was a defining moment for these young people, it was also an agent of change for the school, which later set up an outdoor educational program.

Most of the young men in the group finished high school, but some still struggled. None of them wanted to comment on this article. Barbara Pepe, who keeps in touch with them, says she is proud of the progress they have made.

As for Lee Stroud, he says the trip reminded him of the importance of nature. There is a natural world that exists every day and is waiting to help us heal our wounds.

This documentary is titled the lake Available on YouTube since January 14.

With information from Florence Hwang

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