June 2015 Pilot Site Visits

On June 22nd our team flew to Prince George for a 48 hour trip to visit our pilot sites up North. We spent the first night in Prince George talking about the successes and challenges of the project, and wondering how our pilot sites were doing. The plan was to visit sites the next day, then drive to Smithers, then visit sites in Moricetown the next day. 

The route (we flew to Prince George, and home from Smithers). We drove PG to Smithers.

The route (we flew to Prince George, and home from Smithers). We drove PG to Smithers.

Bright and early the next morning we set out to our first pilot site, at the Fire Pit in down town Prince George. It was a sunny and warm morning, so we walked from our hotel. We first stopped to admire the art work that is displayed on the wall of the Fire Pit, shown in the November 2014 blog below. The art work was done by community members and is weather proof, and is absolutely stunning.

We then started our Focus Group inside the Fire Pit with a group of their core dudes and their elder. It was a productive meeting in which we were able to discuss some of the challenges and possible solutions to those challenges. Many of the solutions the dudes are looking to implement in the months to come. This group is very interested in working, and as such they haven’t orchestrated any fun activities yet! We suggested that they do some fun stuff together, like bowling or fishing, to take the tension off of the work. We have a super hard working bunch of dudes in Prince George!

After this Focus Group meeting we had an impromptu meeting with one of our medical colleagues who is involved in the Dude’s Club in Prince George. We discussed some of the barriers to access along with the steps the dudes have taken to circumvent them. Soon after we were off to Smithers. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the drive was quite nice. The whole ride there we discussed the project or concepts related to the project. It was quite educational! We arrived just in time for a later dinner, and went to bed early.

Sun setting behind the mountains. View from Smithers. 

Sun setting behind the mountains. View from Smithers. 

The next morning we got up bright and early and were in Moricetown by 8:45 for our meeting scheduled to start at 9:00. After some room changes, we settled in a cozy little hall off of the main highway to discuss a multitude of things. In attendance were Moricetown community members, Smithers dudes and their elder (along with their honourary “dudette”!), and representatives from the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). The FNHA is a BC organization established in 2013 to improve First Nations health.

This was a very rich meeting, filled with stories of successes, struggles, suggestions, solutions and multiple themes. Each dude’s club took advice from the other; it was a great reciprocal exchange. Not to mention the delicious breakfast provided by the band. We also discussed plans for our retreat coming up in September for our dudes. We settled on a date, space, and threw around some ideas for activities.

View on our drive to check out a possible Retreat site. Just outside of Smithers.

View on our drive to check out a possible Retreat site. Just outside of Smithers.

After this meeting we drove back to the Smithers airport, and hopped on our short plane ride back to Vancouver. Overall this was a very useful trip – all of our pilot sites seem to be doing very well, and are filled with energy to continue with the programming.

Thanks for reading.