Rick Connors talks to students at Hazelton Secondary about the career camps.

Rick Connors talks to students at Hazelton Secondary about the career camps.

Youth given chance to jump start their careers

The Gitxsan Development Corporation is offering career camps for students this summer.

The Gitxsan Development Corporation is offering career camps for students this summer.

The Gitxsan-sponsored program for youth is an experience-based educational opportunity in a camp setting. It is the first year for this program that organizers hope to continue every summer.

President and CEO Rick Connors said its participants will be exposed to industry professionals who will provide real life experiences while also having some fun for a week. He, along with other members of the GDC, made a presentation about the camps to Hazelton high school students last Wednesday. Connors told the students that attending the camp will help to open up pathways for them to take their first step towards a career.

“There isn’t a mentorship program for the youth in the region,” he said. “So with a student coming close to graduation there are a lot of choices, a lot questions.

“So what we are trying to do here, because we are a business focused for-profit entity, we want to give back to the community and we want to see students have an opportunity to look at different options. Get them immersed into a choice camp and have a long term mentorship where students can actually interface with business people. 

“It’s a matter of providing career choices to students in a real-world setting.”

The first camp will be forestry based and held at the end of July for a week. Participants will get insight into the industry and will also gain a better understanding of Gitxsan traditions and culture. Brinkman Forestry has teamed up with the GDC to offer this camp. Another camp, geared towards construction work, will be held later on in the summer.

Connors added that the development corporation and its industry partners are continuously looking for career driven youth to fill future employment opportunities.

“Selfishly, we are focused on developing an active forest management profile,” Connors said. “We are actively looking at reopening our sawmill, putting in a pellet plant, a power plant.

Everything is wood centric and so forestry, for us, we hope to twig on a few youth that want to take the next step.”

Connors is hoping between 15-20 students sign up. There is no cost for the students to attend. Those looking to apply need to have a good level of fitness, be in Grades 10-12, have a positive attitude and get a reference from their teacher.

More information can be found at gitxsandiscoveries.com.