By Sierra Ruppel
The Canadian Rockies Youth Network (CRYN) is a youth-led group of passionate individuals focused on promoting youth engagement in decision-making in the Canadian Rockies. In September of 2022, we held a retreat in Kananaskis for high school-aged youth interested in becoming a part of CRYN. On said retreat, several team-building activities were held, such as trust-based games, the Council of All Beings activity, and a group yoga session. Furthermore, we were given many opportunities to learn more about Indigenous culture and ways of living by participating in a smudging ceremony and a tobacco offering. On top of that, a large part of the retreat was set aside for planning our annual summit, which will be held in March of 2023 in the Bow Valley.
At our retreat, we were given the privilege of attending Tipis and Telescopes (Tipis and Telescopes 2022) at the Biogeoscience Institute near Barrier Lake. This event concentrated on giving Indigenous individuals a chance to share traditional stories about the constellations we see in our sky today. Additionally, we were able to view the stars in a portable planetarium, which is essentially an inflatable dome that projects beautiful images of the stars for you to be able to view. There is no better way to spark an interest in astronomy than this. The experience was surreal and puts into perspective how many stories one thing can share around the world. Moreover, true to the name, telescopes were available for use around the institute.
To wrap up our weekend, we participated in a hike around Barrier Lake. Along our hike, we were given time to reflect on the things we learned, as well as spend our final hours together as a group before we returned to the city. Once we made it to the vantage point, we wrote about our goals as a part of CRYN and ways to improve/maintain our mental health.
The retreat did an excellent job displaying CRYN’s values and main focuses as an organization and was an incredibly fun event to be a part of. If you would like to learn more about CRYN, make sure to check out the rest of our website.