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YukonU youth summer camps launch a more inclusive registration process
WHITEHORSE, YT—Yukon University is introducing two changes to the registration process for Youth Moving Mountains Summer Camps to ensure greater inclusion of Indigenous youth in Whitehorse.
The camps are popular and usually fill up rapidly once online registration opens, sometimes within minutes. Places are secured by immediate payment via credit card.
Going forward, registration will be a staggered process. Starting March 16, Indigenous families (including parents or caregivers) will be able to access advanced registration online or via phone. Camp staff will be available between 9am and 4pm each weekday to support those wishing to register youth in the camps. Then, on March 23, general online registration will proceed for the remaining available spots in each camp.
For all youth, payment will no longer be required at registration. Parents and caregivers will have until May 27 to seek and receive financial support for their child to attend camps.
“It was brought to our attention by affected families that our previous online–only registration process failed to account for caregivers with poor or no internet access or lacking a computer, printer, or cell phone with data. Those without the means to secure a place immediately with a credit card and families and youth who may need to access funding were shut out,” said Dan Anton, department head, Continuing Education at Yukon University.
“These systemic barriers particularly affect Indigenous youth living in Whitehorse,” added Anton.
An aspect of the mission of YukonU Youth Moving Mountains is to bring Science, Technology, Trades, Engineering and Math (STEM) to underserved populations. Hearing these concerns was a catalyst for a conversation within the team on how to decolonize the process and remove systemic obstacles to participation.
Last year, YukonU youth programs had 40 per cent participation by Indigenous youth overall. This is largely due to camps delivered in partnership with Yukon First Nations across the territory. For the Whitehorse summer camps, Indigenous youth participation falls to 18 per cent.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to hear and address the challenges some youth were facing in accessing our camps. We will evaluate the success of this approach in the Fall and contemplate further actions we can take to improve access to our programs in 2023 and beyond,” said Anton.
In 2021, 815 youth participated in YukonU Youth Moving Mountains STEM programs aimed at 6 to 16-year-olds, including after school clubs and 43 week-long camps at spring break and summer in Whitehorse and communities beyond Whitehorse.
Youth programming at Yukon University is made possible with the support of Actua.
Actua provides training, resources and support to its national network of members located at universities and colleges across Canada in the delivery of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education outreach programming. Each year, these members engage over 225,000 youth in 500 communities nationwide.