“Most of the these youth have never had this opportunity to go to BC before. Many of them haven't barely even left their home community of Pinehouse, so we were very excited to do this for them” Dre Erwin, President of the Pinehouse Photography Club.
"I love the PPC family!!!"
Sponsored by Six Rivers Fund, 13 youth were given the opportunity to do photography this summer at Tie Lake, British Columbia, close to the USA border. With the power of taking pictures, youth learned the value of group therapy and using the camera to talk about their personal feelings and emotions. Often the youth would take pictures, then come back and talk about them, what inspired them to take the pictures, reflecting on their thoughts and emotions.
The club was also sponsored by the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) and was awarded $9000 towards the purchase of 30 Nickon CoolPix cameras. "These cameras are so easy to use, the quality is amazing, and the youth just love using it," Mallory Lariviere, program director. Louis Iron, 16 year old who attended the trip says "the pictures are amazing and we can connect using WIFI and Bluetooth to our Ipads and phones."
"I was so happy being there"
- Dakota Natomagan, youth participant
The Pinehouse Photography Club (PPC) uses therapeutic photography with youth to help start the conversation about mental health.
Jonathan Durocher, a 13 year old who attended, says he loved the trip. "I really miss it and wish we could do it again right away", says Durocher. Durcocher was one of 13 youth, between the ages of 13-18 from the Pinehouse Photography Club (PPC) had the adventure of a lifetime this past summer as they all got chosen out of a hat to go for a week. "I dont think about being sad or depressed when we are taking pictures. BC was so amazing and I made so many new friends," Durocher.
"I was able to feel like myself and open up about my feelings" -Louis Iron
Therapeutic photography provides youth with an outlet to express their feelings and emotions. "Having all these youth together with us, we were able to spend some quality time with them for an entire week," Erwin. "We could be out taking pictures together, relaxing at the cabin, or in the vehicle, but we all had the opportunities to share a lot of personal things. We all shared a lot of laughs and even tears," Erwin.
"I really feel like I am important now. Photography really did save my life"
-Keara Tinker, youth participant.
Youth were all given an all expenses paid trip to BC and back.
A lot of fundraising was needed. Jon Ray Durocher, volunteer and Vice President of the PPC, "We all worked tirelessly for months before the trip, making and selling pizzas, selling ice cream, so we could provide the kids with some spending money too". Youth ended the trip in west Edmonton mall and were all given $100 each for spending money there.
Shortly before arriving back in Pinehouse, youth were able to witness and take pictures of the northern lights. "It was such an amazing way to end the trip," Zackary Warren, youth participant. Louis Iron was just talking about the recent suicide of his step father. "And then I get a chance to see these lights and take pictures of them. It was like a sign from him that everything will be ok", Iron.
For final evaluation, youth were asked to write short evaluations about their experiences and how it helped with their mental health. This also included depression scoring and follow up. For more information and to see their personal stories, you can join their club on Facebook.