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shíshálh youth make their pitches at Bears' Lair Camp

Community celebration celebrated youth-led business ideas

During the Bears’ Lair Dream Camp last weekend, shíshálh youth came up with their own companies and business plans, where teams planned projected costs, revenues and much more. 

They presented the fruits of their labour at a celebratory feast Monday evening. 

Each team's Bears’ Lair pitch video was shown on the big screen as teams pitched to a panel of four judges.

Among the youths’ pitches were: 

Mayuk Medicine Walks,  where visitors would be taken on a guided walk and can pick their own medicines. Davis Bay Eats, a food truck company that would donate 10 per cent of their earnings to the Rain City in Sechelt. Orcas Tradish, a tourism-based company that would guide visitors around the Coast, and will also operate its own hotel to house guests. And, Epic, an adventure game park, which would have a bowling alley, bumper cars, arcade games and more – their motto was, “Life is a game, enjoy the fun.”

More than 70 friends and families gathered to cheer on the youth and to see the results of their hard at the Monday evening event. 

Lindsay August, CEO of Orcas Tradis, was one of the prospective entrepreneurs. The Grade 11 student said she liked learning about target markets as well as making sure the business runs smoothly. “I think the most fun part was getting to know my friends and cousins more, and learning about all of the entrepreneur skills,” August said.

Hudson Hopp, CEO of Mayuk Medicine Walks, said he had a great time with everyone over the weekend.  “My job was to be the CEO, basically I come in and make the head decisions, and to make sure that no one is slacking off,” said the Grade 6 student. He added that he was proud of the traditional impact his company would have. 

Over the weekend camp, participants were given challenges to work on together in order to create their own business.Team exercises ranged from building a brand and creating a marketing plan, to deciding how best to invest a hypothetical $10,000 into the company. 

Geena Jackson, creator and executive producer of APTN’s Bears' Lair TV and shíshálh Nation member said that working on social confidence, team building, financial literacy, getting kids out of their comfort zone are some of the fundamentals of the camp.

The winning team was awarded $250 each, and all camp participants received $100.

All the youth who attended the camp also received a wooden pendant, carved by former shíshálh  Nation councillor, Shain Níniw-ém Salepem Jackson, who also happens to be Geena's brother. 

The judges consisted of Shain Níniw-ém Salepem Jackson, Candace Campo, artist and founder of Talaysay Tours, entrepreneur Debbie Hendsbee and Kerry Malhman, district principal for School District 46. 

While the judges commented how difficult it was to choose a winner among such well-thought-out business plans, Ultimately it was Davis Bay Eats that came out on top. Judge Campo said that they had a “very sound” business plan. 

Before the event wrapped up with a traditional song, Geena took a moment to thank the community members who came to celebrate. 

“Thank you so, so much for participating and being great parents and grandparents and aunties and uncles and cousins, and everyone that’s here,” she said. 

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.