Fourteen women conquered the rivers, grew more confident and picked up some life skills last week.
For the third summer, Skeena Watershed Coalition ran its Women on Water program.
“Morgan Bladwin who works with women at risk or in tough situations came up with the idea. She thought by giving them an incredible experience you can empower them and bring them into a stronger place with their confidence,” said program spokesperson Cynthia McCreery. She added that the week-long event was open to all women.
The group of women, along with two guides and team leaders, rafted down several rivers in the area. They were taught how to raft and about the rivers they were on. The women that participated came from Houston, Smithers, Moricetown and from all over the Hazeltons.
“It has been a beautiful thing, there is sort of a different energy when you get a group of ladies together. The atmosphere has felt so supportive and nurturing,” said program facilitator Sarah Panofsky, who was on the water with the women. “It has allowed women to have a little bit of a break and have access to the rivers. It’s pretty cool to have women supporting women to get out there, swim, learn how to raft, enjoy the river and be safe.”
Hereditary Chief Yvonne Lattie was one of the participants, she rafted along with her daughter and grand-daughter.
“The river is magical. There is so much energy from the river and it is so spiritual,” she said. “As a teacher from my house group, I told stories to the women that taught our people respect and the many different values of life. We shared on the river, we laughed and joked too. Women are so powerful together, they have so much connection together.”
SWCC is hoping to run the program again next year.