Flying Dust First Nation youth learn business skills in entrepreneur camp

Youth from Flying Dust First Nation in Saskatchewan participated in a business camp last week designed to show youth how to see themselves as future entrepreneurs.

Bears' Lair youth dream camps go to communities across Canada teaching youth the basics of business, including communication, marketing, and pitching.

Noah Mirasty from Flying Dust, which is about 250 kilometres north of Saskatoon, said he heard about the camp at school and decided to sign up.

"I didn't know anything about business," he said.

Mirasty said he learned a lot about building a business from the ground up, and it was fun.

He said before he took the camp he never thought about pursuing business, he was more interested in playing sports. Now he sees a potential for a business that focuses on sports.

His group developed an idea to create the Flying Dust Athletic Club, which would help athletes from the community and the surrounding area hone their skills in different sports.

"We're going to have our own lessons where we teach kids how to play the sports, teach them different drills, teach them how to just be more athletic in the mind, body and spirit," he said.

Mirasty and his group even approached a local gym with their pitch to see how much it would cost to run the athletic club, which opened his eyes to costs associated with equipment, rental and coach fees — even merchandise costs.

'Their horizons were expanded'

When Carolyn Lachance and her husband first heard about the camp she knew she wanted the youth in Flying Dust to benefit from it.

"We were really interested," she said.

"We thought, what a fantastic idea and way for youth to get the basic understanding of business."

Lachance co-ordinated the camp's location with chief and council and worked with the camp to gain sponsorship to pay for the camp. She said it was all worth it to expand the youths' horizons.

"Too many times our youth don't have aspirations," she said.

"They see all these things out there, people doing certain things, and they think that it's way beyond their reach."

Youth from Flying Dust First Nation who attended the Bears' Lair youth dream camp.
Youth from Flying Dust First Nation who attended the Bears' Lair youth dream camp. (Submitted by Bears' Lair Youth Camp)

Lachance said 23 youth originally signed up, but space was made for more to attend. The youth were split into groups and along with Mirasty's idea for an athletic club, she said plans for a thrillzone, a wellness centre and a food truck were developed through the week.

"They were all completely different, completely unique ideas," said Lachance.

"These kids are smart. I was so impressed."

Lachance said the youth who participated and their families were happy to see the outcome of their progress at the graduation ceremony.

"Their horizons were expanded, that they could see the options and opportunities that are out there and again that it's attainable."

Lachance said she hopes to bring the camp back as an annual event.