The Leadership Camp was held June 17-22 and it allowed the campers and staff from DEWY a chance to bond while communing with nature at Chilliwack Lake.

Film documents leadership camp at Chilliwack Lake

A wilderness camping experience at Chilliwack Lake may have changed live for graduates of youth in recovery.

Some of the youth battling addictions who attended a wilderness camp at Chilliwack Lake said it might have saved their lives.

A 12-minute video called Do We? will be screened at Galaxy Cinemas in Chilliwack at 11 a.m. on Oct. 11, and the public is invited to attend to hear some of the life-changing stories.

“We could have screened this film anywhere across the Lower Mainland but we chose Chilliwack because it’s a truly caring community,” said Lee Anne Hanson, of Pacific Community Resources Society. “Chilliwack was the arms that held these kids in a safe environment while they were at camp.”

PCRS collaborated with Alcohol-Drug Education Service to create the five-day camping experience in Chilliwack earlier this summer for graduates of the DEWY (Day-Evening-Weekend Youth) program.

Now they’re also working “diligently” toward building a new youth leadership program in Chilliwack for teens in recovery, she said. It’s one of the efforts being waged in the interim, until the Chilliwack Health Contact Centre is open.

Coming out to see the film next week might offer direction to anyone at their wits’ end about kids who’ve left home or started abusing alcohol and drugs.

DEWY provides out-patient, day-treatment activities over 10 weeks for Lower Mainland youth ages 13-18 with alcohol and drug problems.

“The film could provide a window on what can be done,” said Hanson. “The biggest number of calls I get is from parents of these kids who are looking for help. They always ask, ‘What do you have for me?'”

One struggling youth who was living under a bush is now a peer leader, she said.

“It’s caring communities that have these outcomes,” she said. “You can throw all the money you want at a problem, but without a caring community, you’re lost.

The Leadership Camp was held June 17-22 and it allowed the campers and staff a chance to bond while communing with nature at Chilliwack Lake.

“We felt it was important to emphasize leadership skills,” Hanson said. “It would allow the DEWY grads to get to the next level, so they wouldn’t regress.”

They did it all without electricity, running water, cell phones, or any of the high-tech comforts of youth culture. Besides hiking and canoeing, the A-DES committed to produce a DVD capturing the essence of DEWY and the young people’s camp experiences.

Videographer Ross Friesen and writer Jay Niver put together the full-length video, Do We? which will be screened on Oct. 11 at 11 a.m. followed by speakers.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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