My passion

My passion   


Written by Lindsay Gibson

My name is Lindsay Gibson and I am from the Musqueam Nation in Vancouver BC. I am 28 years old and have lived in Vancouver on the Musqueam reserve since 1990. My family and friends are extremely important to me, as it is their love and support that has made me who I am today, I admire each and everyone of them. My number one goal in life is to positively contribute to other people’s lives, Aboriginal youth in particular.

When I am not at work you can find me walking, reading, kayaking, enjoying a live show, and camping when I have the time. For the past three years I have been combining my passion of kayaking and helping by participating in Kayak for a Cure Vancouver. Where we paddle from Jericho to English Bay and back and donate the proceeds to the Canadian Cancer Society.

I have done many things as I got my first job when I was thirteen years old, and had a summer jobs in Musqueam everyyear since. Before I even started to work my friends and I started a Creek Clean-Up Crew where we would clean up the local creek in Musqueam. One summer two other youth and I taught Musqueam’s traditional language to kindergartners to grade fours. I have done everything from Musqueam Bike Patrol, receptionist, treaty researcher, to landscaper. I was even hired as a youth carver to work on a totem pole outside the Musqueam Band Office.

In 2005 I participated in a Haida Gwaii field studies course with Langara College, which started my interest in world culture, travel and experiential learning. The following year I went to Ecuador as a participant on an Aboriginal exchange project, called the Musqueam-Totoras project. We spent a month in Totoras and the Aboriginal people from Totoras came to Vancouver the following year for a month. We did cultural exchanges with them and when in Ecuador we set up a community garden and family gardens, did training in organic pesticides and composting, helped paint their school, and helped restart their integrated watering system. This was the most amazing experience of my life!

I spent two and a half years working at the Urban Native Youth Association, as the program coordinator for the Native Youth Learning Centre. There I assisted Aboriginal Youth in creating and setting their employment and educational goals. This was one of my dream jobs, as it is wonderful organization that has over 21 programs to support Aboriginal youth in east Vancouver.

I began my job with Canada World Youth in June 2011, and have loved every minute of it. I just wrapped up my first contract as a project supervisor for the Ukraine/Victoria Youth Leaders in Action program. Here I co-supervised a group of eighteen youth on an International Youth Exchange. During the exchange the youth work at volunteer work placements and live with host families for three months in the exchange country (Ukraine) and three months in Canada (Victoria). I just started a Mini Youth Leaders in Action program where a group of eighteen Canadian and Aboriginal youth will go to Kenya and work with an organization called KENVO for six weeks. I am extremely excited to go to Kenya especially since about three youth from Musqueam will be participants on the program.

When I first started my position with Canada World Youth my number one goal was to bring these opportunities to the Aboriginal community, Musqueam in particular. I am not only lucky enough to supervise the predominately Aboriginal group including three Musqueam youth. I am lucky enough to have reached this goal within my first year of working with the organization, I didn’t expect it to happen so fast but could not be more thrilled.

My position at Canada World Youth allows me to connect with youth through Facebook, not only to recruit youth for the program but to keep in contact with them. I find that nowadays connecting through texting and facebooking is much more effective when connecting with youth. Although this should be done carefully as should anything involving youth. Canada World Youth also now has a new website where every program is able to post pictures and articles about the current events happening on their program.

I have been blessed to reach many of my personal and professional goals from a younger age. I have had many amazing jobs, as all I have ever wanted to do was contribute to the community and Aboriginal people’s lives in positive and meaningful ways. Most of my jobs have allowed me to learn and share my culture while making a meaningful contribution to the lives of others. I had one dream job when I worked at the Urban Native Youth Association and had to make the hard decision to move on to another dream job with Canada World Youth. Once these three Musqueam youth complete the program and have a positive experience to share with others, I will have reached my goal for now. Anything beyond that is the cherry on top, but with any luck it will lead to more Aboriginal youth in the lower mainland to participate in Canada World Youth Programs.

I hope to work with Canada World Youth for another 1-3 years before I settle down again in Vancouver. When I return I want to continue working with youth either on Musqueam or with the Urban Native Youth Association ideally, and to work on something that creates or supports more opportunities for youth. I also want to return to school and add to my education, although that won’t be until after I have had the opportunity to grow and learn more in my current position with Canada World Youth. I also hope to work on getting a Kayak instructing and touring certificate one day as it is one of my favourite things to do and I would love to be able to share that with the youth.