New Pathways Chill Zone: Our Observation

Recently, the team from the New Pathways Foundation was present at the Interscholastic Games organized by the First Nations Education Council (FNEC). We wish to share with you the inspiring experience we had during these interscholastic games through our space: the New Pathways Chill Zone. This dedicated space for First Nations youth took on a remarkable dimension, becoming a true meeting and exchange place among different communities.

During this event, within the New Pathways Chill Zone, we had created areas of relaxation and conviviality for First Nations youth, along with incorporating playful, cultural, and artistic activities. To our great delight, they fully embraced this space. The New Pathways Chill Zone became THEIR space, a place where they gathered, shared, and forged strong bonds with each other. It was much more than a simple relaxation or activity area; it became a space by and for First Nations youth.

It was striking and inspiring to see the youth using the New Pathways Chill Zone to connect with each other, beyond their respective Nations. They actively participated, exchanged their experiences, and met in a friendly spirit. We had the opportunity to witness friendships and inter-Nation connections emerge, thus creating diverse and inclusive networks.

One of the standout activities that became a true testament to this observation was the Territory activity, where a map of the Nations in Quebec was displayed. The youth were invited to leave their mark through a signature or a photo. This map became a symbol of their presence and commitment. Each addition to this map represented a voice, an identity, and a unique cultural heritage. It was a concrete way for them to celebrate and highlight their diversity while reinforcing their sense of belonging to their Nation and a broader community.

Our Observation: The New Pathways Chill Zone has been a true success for the Foundation. It exceeded our expectations by becoming a space for exchange and inter-Nation meetings, where First Nations youth could connect, inspire each other, and create memories. We are grateful to have witnessed this wonderful journey, and we will continue to support and promote such inclusive spaces where youth can thrive fully.

Our Recommendation: Encourage organizations to create a meeting space for youth at all events that bring them together, but above all, ensure that youth have the freedom to make it a space by and for themselves.

Finally, we are thankful that the FNEC provided us with this opportunity for meeting and sharing. Their understanding of the importance of this social and cultural dimension is crucial for the development of youth and the strengthening of bonds between communities. Thanks to this diverse programming, the Interscholastic Games become not only the achievement of a sporting dream for youth but also a meaningful memory in the evolution of their identity and a positive element in the construction of their life path.

Credit: New Pathways Team – Nations Map – FNEC Interscholastic Games