Bears’ Lair TV believes that youth are the future by going around Canada and presenting their camps for Indigenous children. 

“Youth is the future, and the future is your youth,” said Geena Jackson, the creator and Executive Producer of Bears’ Lair TV, a Vancouver-based series that offers an opportunity for Indigenous business owners. 

“We want to be able to share the wealth of knowledge and mentorship about entrepreneurism all over Canada for Indigenous youth.” 

Jackson is a proud member of the shíshálh (Sechelt) First Nation on the Sunshine Coast of B.C.

It all started with a TV show named Bears’ Lair. They first filmed the show in March 2022. During this time, Jackson realized that there could be more than that. She has a lot of experience with teaching entrepreneurs about business, with kids being involved.

“We decided to start something that will really take the grassroots level of education to the community so that we can provide the opportunity for people to learn more and to become entrepreneurs and leaders,” Jackson said. 

And so, in August 2022, the Youth Entrepreneur Dream Camp started. The first year-round camp was in the Six Nations of the Grand River Ontario.

“It’s been amazing,” Jackson noted. And this September, they will come to Cranbrook and facilitate the camp there for Indigenous youth. 

Paper Excellence, a paper manufacturer based in Richmond, sponsors the camp. They chose Cranbrook because of the great relationship they have in this community. 

Paper Excellence and the Bears’ Lair contacted nearby nations to host the camp, including the Ktunaxa Nation and the Shuswap Band. 

“I love working with young Indigenous entrepreneurs. I am Indigenous myself. The one thing that I love about working with the community and Indigenous youth and entrepreneurs is that the core values are always maintained the same — it’s culture, it’s language, it’s family, it’s about togetherness, and it’s about uplifting each other,” Jackson said. “And from one community to another, these core values do not change.” 

Jackson said they discussed the nations’ opportunities to bring the camp and the Bears’ Lair team to the community. The elders lead the opening and closing prayers.

“Being able to teach the fundamentals at a very young age — from 11 years old is going to assist the advancing Indigenous youth to become the leaders of tomorrow. That’s our intention,” Jackson explained. 

She said that all of the 200 children she taught really cared about their families and the environment. They have also developed businesses that solve problems in the community. “It gives me a lot of excitement and hope for the future of who we’re going to be as Indigenous people and how we’re going to work together in society,” Jackson said. 

The Youth Entrepreneur Dream Camp will be held in September in Cranbrook. Visit https://bearslairtv.com/ for more information.

By Julia Archelene Magsombol, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 20, 2023 at 18:27

This item reprinted with permission from   Columbia Valley Pioneer   Invermere, British Columbia
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