There's always something new to discover at FortWhyte Alive.
This spring, a group of 20 women stepped into the wild for four Saturdays of intentional experience at FortWhyte Alive. Participants the spent four weeks creating, exploring and wildcrafting -- all in a tranquil natural setting.
Wildcrafters kicked off the four-week series with a bonfire and wild tea brew followed by a self-care workshop facilitated by Jodie Layne. Northlore Goods creator Natassia Brazeau led the group to wildcraft aspen buds, then create their very own salve to take home. The afternoon was rounded out with a serious session of everybody's new favourite activity: hatchet throwing! The following week, nationally recognized beading artist Jennine Krauchi introduced the group to the history and technique of Métis beadwork before the group headed outside to hone their bush skills. The series concluded with a calm, restorative lakeside yoga practice with Prairie Yogi Magazine's Rachelle Taylor.
While Wildcraft was the first series of its kind, be on the look out for more exciting programming from FortWhyte Alive this summer. Be sure to follow the journey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to ensure early registration for limited programs.
Spring has indeed sprung on the prairies. Along with all of the wonderful signs of this season–warmer weather, roads clear of snow and ice, flowers blooming and birds chirping–Manitobans often find themselves at the ire of hissing, honking geese.
During breeding season, male geese are hard-wired to defend their mate and nest location. Their aggressive behaviour towards potential intruders could result in physical injury to humans who don't get the message.
So what are geese trying to tell us when they bob their heads, or flap their wings? Your friends at FortWhyte Alive are here to help. Steer clear of goose danger this season with our handy guide to the "Secret Language of Geese"!
Manitoba Music and FortWhyte Alive teamed up this month to present the first-ever Manitoba Music Winter Songwriter Retreat at FortWhyte Alive. The co-writing retreat brought together nine emerging songwriters to strengthen their songwriting chops through collaboration at FWA's secluded lakeside field station and architecturally unique cabins.
One week later, all nine artists shared their collaborations live on stage in a special Manitoba Music Songwriter Concert at FortWhyte Alive. The results were fantastic.
Our thanks to Manitoba Music and the nine artists who brought their energy to FortWhyte Alive for this unique collaboration. Creating opportunities for others to become enchanted by lakeside views, roaming bison and aspen forests is an important part of our mission at FortWhyte Alive. We look forward to engaging with other groups in the local arts community looking for tranquil retreat setting close to home.
Photos by Samanta Katz.
Photo by Brittany Willacy
Winnipeg-based songstress Raine Hamilton has been described as "a cross between a shorter, more musical Tina Fey, and a shorter, funnier Joni Mitchell." One of nine participants in the first-ever Manitoba Music Songwriting Retreat at FortWhyte Alive, held this past month, Raine is a relatively new favourite of the Canadian folk music scene. Her current project? Preparing for the release of her first full-length album Past Your Past at West End Cultural Centre May 27th. But your next chance to see Raine Hamilton on stage is this Thursday at the Manitoba Music Songwriter Concert at FortWhyte Alive.
RH: For me, playing and writing music is deeply nourishing. It is like joy is a food group, and this is how I get my fill. Often it is a healing experience, and I welcome that.
RH: Last summer I performed at the Edge of the World Festival on Haida Gwaii, the islands way to the North and way to the West of BC. I had that great feeling of yes. "Yes. This is where I'm supposed to be. This is what I am supposed to do. This is a life well and joyfully lived." That was the farthest I had ever toured, and I did it alone, finding a community of artists along the way.
RH: I've got a few ideal weekends. One involves me and the creative spirit, alone somewhere in the natural world. Another involves a lakeside cabin, friends, and Beatles jamming until dawn. Another involves sewing something - a dress, a skirt, anything ambitious. This is one of my favourite things to do.
RH: We wrote a song about the prairies at the retreat. I savoured the experience of connecting with the prairie, of experiencing it from different perspectives. Our song, La plaine, written by myself, Arianne Jean, and Dominique Lemoine of À La Mode, is a bilingual roots tune, drawn from the vulnerability of the prairie. And that is what I think makes the prairie so special. It is beautifully vulnerable out there; the prairie and the heavens, the prairie and the elements, the prairie and all of creation, in touch, nothing in the way.
"Nowhere to hide, there is nothing between me and the stars
No one to lie to, there is nothing between me and my pride
RH: I love to run! I am a barefoot runner, and it is just the best!
RH: I'd love to learn sound engineering. I've got long-term plans to be an engineer/producer.
RH: The deer. Want to see my tattoo?
RH: We had a great time at the FortWhyte Alive/Manitoba Music songwriting retreat! My favourite memory is the first late-night recording session. Hearing everyone's songs, feeling miles away from the city, seeing the bright whiteness of the moon over the lake. That was pretty amazing. And this entire nature-inspired songwriting getaway was right inside the city! What a gem you are, FortWhyte Alive!
Many hands are needed to ensure FortWhyte Alive Summer Day Camp runs smoothly: one Camp Director, three Section Coordinators, a Lifeguard and 110 Volunteer Camp Counsellors. Youth counsellors ages 14-19 represent FortWhyte in all connections with campers and their parents. They need to be mature and professional in manner, at the same time being enthusiastic and fun each day. John Hrynchuk is one of these camp counsellors.
John started coming to FortWhyte as a camper when he was 10-years-old. After his final year as a Fox Bay camper, he applied to be a counsellor. John was keen to take on this role because he enjoyed being outside, had good summer memories, and wanted to recreate these times for other campers.
2015 will be John’s fourth year as a counsellor. He says he returns each year because he enjoys being with the kids, and has made friends. The counsellor role has taught him how to be a good leader and communicate well with a group of children. He now sees situations as a leader rather than “going with the flow”– understanding what it takes to create an experience that makes camp special. John uses these skills on his resumé, and will have the Volunteer Manager as a reference when applying for employment.
John recommends interested youth apply for the position for Summer Day Camp Counsellor if they want to gain leadership experience, if they have dedication to working with children and love being outside in all kinds of weather. “The FortWhyte camp counsellor experience will push you to understand that even when you don’t feel like making the effort, you have to, because there is a room full of kids waiting for you.”
After their training, counsellors can volunteer in the spring, winter and more summer day camps. Other opportunities such as working at School Volunteer Fairs, Trick or Treat in the Forest, or Easter Egg Hunts are available during the year. Volunteer hours for school credits are easily obtained by FortWhyte counsellors.
John is in Grade 11, and this year he participated in the Kelvin High Volunteer Fair promoting FortWhyte Alive Summer Camp Counsellor positions to his fellow students. His volunteer time is in addition to getting up at 5 am for his rigorous speed skating training in preparation for the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC. He has certainly learned how to push himself while having fun, and FortWhyte Alive is fortunate to have volunteer counsellors like John each summer.
FortWhyte Alive thanks Lafarge, FWA's Volunteer Program Sponsor.