Sparrow Leadership Initiative

Indigenous Youth Matter

World Bound Youth Leadership Camp

Fireside’s Sparrow Leadership Initiative is a 2019 pilot project bringing Indigenous youth together to participate in a unique 27-day leadership training initiative. These Indigenous youth leaders will participate, learn and grow from unique strength-based pillars influencing and informing their leadership experience:

  • Sparrow Roots (developing positive personal identity, family, culture and language, traditional knowledge).
  • Land and Water (expedition base, exploration, outdoor skills).
  • Leading and Developing (leadership skills, family and social systems, visioning and decision making).
  • Giving and Sharing (wellness practices, solo experience, journaling, paddle making, carving and mentoring circle).

Sparrow Leadership Initiative is specifically for Indigenous youth from across Canada seeking an inclusive and supportive outdoor youth leadership and cultural training experience. Our experiences take youth through some of the best locations in British Columbia and Yukon. We are small group (10 to 14 youth) focused and mobile (visiting various locations around BC) supported by Indigenous and Non-Indigenous instructors.

Program Details

Date: July 21 to August 17, 2019.
Ages: 16 to 25 (Co-ed)

Rate: $4,399.00 CDN plus 5% tax

Deposit: $350.00 (required to secure registration).

Includes: Pre-camp assessment and contact, 24/7 supervision, instruction and support, food, accommodation, group camping gear, camping fees and transportation while on trip including return flight between Vancouver and Whitehorse. Does not include international and national flights to Vancouver and some optional activities.

Locations: Vancouver, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Gambier Island, Whistler, Sechelt Inlet


It's a Life-Changing Experience


Sparrow Initiative is a leadership camp and expedition journey preparing Indigenous youth leaders in becoming self-propelled, self-directed and self-aware of exercising and expressing their potential.

“When you know who you are;
when your mission is clear and you
burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will;
no cold can touch your heart;
no deluge can dampen your purpose.
You know that you are alive.”

- Chief Seattle

Outdoor Experiential and Expedition Highlights:

  • Travel between BC and Yukon (flight included)

  • Canoeing and outdoor wilderness skill training as the group travels down the Yukon River and explores Sechelt Inlet (specifically ocean and river paddling, campsite selection, overview of equipment, hiking, orienteering, shelter & fire building, risk management, meal planning and risk management

  • Participating in a safe environment for sharing, giving, growing and learning

  • Creating positive personal identity and utilizing strength based learning approaches

  • Leadership, life and social training and support by Indigenous and Non-Indigenous instructors

  • Youth on the land and water while taking time away from home/community to foster new skills and insights with developing their leadership potential 

Cultural Connections and Teachings:

  • Coast Salish and Fort Selkirk people (Yukon and BC)

  • Seven Scared Grandfather Teachings

  • 7 Sacred Teachings

  • Understanding the various medicine wheels (across the country)

  • Traditional land and waters of British Columbia and the Yukon.

  • Acknowledgements and welcoming protocols

  • Smudging & cedar brushing

  • Paddle carving

  • Songs and stories including stories about the Sparrow(s)

  • Making individual medicine pouches and rattle makers

  • Martin Brokenleg's Circle of Courage Model 

  • First People's Principles of Learning 

  • Solo (supportive 48 hour solo experience for youth to reflect and connect)

  • Submit a “We Matter” video for end of the trip

  • Much more


Past Indigenous Leadership Initiative: Windspeaker 2014-2016

It's a Life-Changing Experience



Regardless of a participant ’s level of comfort and outdoor skills, it is safer to travel in a group and it is much safer to have an experienced instructor supporting them. Our team always prioritizes planning, preparing, and most importantly, teaching participants how to be safe in the wilderness.


A well-nourished body makes a significant impact on a person’s experience in times of physical and/or mental exertion. Participants will learn how to pack and prepare healthy and holistic meals in our camp kitchens, suited for all diets.

Fitness Capacities

If you are concerned about yours or your child’s physical readiness to attend one of our Fireside camps/expeditions, please contact us directly. We modify our experiences based on the participants’ abilities and capacities. Relax and let us work together to make an informed and shared decision.

Climate Change

We do our best to understand the present and future impacts of climate change. We provide thoughtful discussions and rationale of why we all must do our best to minimize our carbon use including ways to reduce food waste, non-recyclable materials and more. We take public transit or walk as much as possible, and respect nature by reducing our ecological footprints.

Indigenous People

We acknowledge that we are visitors of the traditional lands of Indigenous People. We ask permission to visit and explore their lands while also inviting local First Nations to participate in our camps, share their knowledge and provide a space to collaborate. Fireside Adventures recognizes the unceded traditional lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

Small Group Focused & Mobile

We purposely place restrictions on group size (minimum 8 and maximum 15) of participants as believe less means more for providing an enriched and meaningful experience for each participant. We are not defined by one permanent location as we are rooted in the belief that adventure and learning come from exploring the lands and water around us.

Place and Inquiry Based

All of our selected locations for our camps and expeditions are purposely chosen to provide a platform for inquiry and experiential learning, to learn through the natural world and its significance in relation to culture, geography, history, people and environment.

Social and Emotional Learning

We create a safe place so participants can develop and enhance their resiliency, independence and self-efficacy. We weave learning opportunities throughout our programs for participants to improve the skills necessary to manage and understand their emotions and their relationships.


We are inclusive of all genders, races, cultures, languages, shapes, sizes, colours, abilities and capacities. Those who arrive on the first day of the camp/expedition are important characters of the shared experienced that is to begin. It is a privilege to be the characters in each other's stories and experiences, not our right.


Toni - Sparrow leadership camp instructor

Toni -  Lead Sparrow Guide

I am proud Anishinaabekwe (Anishinaabe Woman) from Sagkeeng Manitoba and presently living as a guest on the beautiful Coast-Salish Territory in BC. Nimiigewechwindam (I’m feeling grateful). I joined Sparrow to share the importance of connecting our C.O.E.E (Cultural and Outdoor Experiential Education) with our Indigenous youth to develop their positive personal identity through strength based approaches ways of knowing and being.

For the past 15 years I have been a Child and Youth Care Worker and Outdoor Educator various settings such as schools, youth centres, places of care and outdoor recreation. During this time, I have seen how when you provide an opportunity for youth to connect with Ashkaakamigokwe (Mother Earth), youth tap into their personal resilience, strengths and gifts.  It is an honour to lead and be apart of your youth’s journey and witness their growth.

I value the Seven Sacred traditional teachings (love, respect, truth, honest, courage, humility and wisdom), passionate about canoeing and creating spaces for spiritual and personal growth and connection. Bimaadiziwin (good life) is something I will do my best to offer your son/daughter.

Lenaya is a Sparrow leadership camp guide

Lenaya - Sparrow Guide

I am from Nlaka'pamux First Nation where the Thompson and Fraser Rivers meet. Sparrow Indigenous Leadership Course is a fresh look on how to learn and connect with your culture, develop your outdoor skills and be on the land. You have so much potential and I want to help you connect your potential to reality.

It's a Life-Changing Experience


Yukon Facts & What to Wear

The name “Yukon” originated from the Locheux native word "Yuk-un-ah," meaning "Great River," referring to the Yukon River that flows across the territory into Alaska.

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Tentative Trip Plan

DAY ONE (UBC, Vancouver)

Arrive, territorial welcoming and acknowledgement, move into UBC residence, evening activities and review personal gear.


Morning tour MOA, meet with Indigenous UBC students at longhouse, overview of Sparrow Initiative and team building activity (sailing lesson in English Bay) and evening tour of Vancouver.

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