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Waterways to Success!
$13,550 raised
68% of $20k goal
142 contributors
40 Weeks running

Indigenous youth are the fastest growing demographic in Canada and tragically suffer from some of the worst health outcomes; but does it have to be this way? We certainly don’t think so! Launching a non-profit during a global pandemic was not an easy decision but the message from our communities was clear, Indigenous youth need us now!


Paddling has always been a pathway to success for Indigenous peoples. Whether it was traveling to new harvesting areas, to trade or to gather together and celebrate, canoes and Qayaq (kayaks) have been bringing us to new opportunities and wider horizons. Today, paddling continues to be a source of great pride and strength within many Indigenous communities. Unfortunately, many other communities have lost touch with their paddling past; however, there is a growing urge, from countless communities, to reconnect with their paddling traditions. Waterways Recreation’s founders recognised this growing “ canoe movement ”  happening here in Manitoba and saw an opportunity to empower Indigenous youth.


Waterways is a new Indigenous-led Manitoba based nonprofit that's youth focused and community driven. We rely on collaboration with our community partners to deliver canoe based outdoor-recreation programs that have the power to change lives ! Our collaborative canoe programs are designed to empower youth , connect them with the land and their cultures while nurturing their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-beings. Paddling (canoeing or kayaking) layers the benefits of cultural connectivity with physical activity. This not only supports better physical wellbeing but cultivates a higher sense of self-esteem, confidence and pride, giving Indigenous youth the tools they need to lead healthy lives and conquer any challenges they may face.

What Are We Doing?

Waterways was founded by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous competitive paddlers, canoe trippers, Indigenous-outdoor-recreation facilitators and North American Indigenous Games coaches oh! and among us we have an enthusiastic Chartered Professional Accountant! We have all seen first hand the power of great Indigenous outdoor sport and recreation programs; we know what it takes to make an impact. In our first season this summer Waterways will be delivering two 5 day summer day camps in 8 partnering communities and Winnipeg(with more requests coming in!). Those camps will reach 1000 Indigenous youth! We will be community specific by working collaboratively with our local partnering organization to meet the distinct needs of each community. Our programs this season focus on youth but seek to engage the community through canoe repair programs so families will be ready to head out on the water too! This summer Waterways is working with the Manitoba Paddling Association and our partnering communities to hire, train and certify community members all in a way that reflects the protocols and traditions unique to each community. Together, we are creating jobs and building capacity; laying the foundation for years of successful community lead programs. 


Creating these opportunities here in Manitoba takes a lot of work and coordination; thankfully, we at Waterways are all motivated to see healthy Indigenous youth change the world around them! We can’t, however, pay or train our staff, volunteers and community members with mythical “motivation dollars”! Nor, have we found a tree that grows life jackets, sunscreen or insurance (if you have such a tree please let us know!). Magic trees aside, what we need this summer are funds to cover upfront costs and future investments in training, equipment, and more. Facilitator training, insurance costs, safety equipment, and more, need to be paid at the start of the summer. Program expense fees and grants however will be coming in slowly as we run programming over the course of our season. Once those expenses are reimbursed to us, any funds raised through individual donations will be put into expanding programs and building resilience into our programs, mainly by means of equipment for communities, training for more local leaders, and a fund for bringing participants to future paddling events and races. Without your help we simply can not get off the ground. If you enjoy the thought of 900+ Indigenous Youth, happy, out on the land, exercising, learning about themselves and their culture consider giving them the healthy head start that everyone deserves by making a donation!

Let's end the health disparities facing, Inuit, Métis and First Nations in Canada, Donate today!

For more information click here to check out our website.

Marsii, meegwetch, thank you, for your support!

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