By: Christina Torrealba (she/her), Graduate Student in Community Health and Epidemiology
From July 10th-13th, Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS) and Keknu’tmasiek Welo’ltimk: We Learn Healing (KW) hosted the Health Sciences Summer Camps for youth in grades 8-11. The camps are intended to increase interest in the health professions for African Nova Scotian/Canadian and Indigenous youth through interactive programming, hands-on activities, and personal and cultural development. I had the opportunity to chat with Tessa and Blake, two high-school students who participated in the summer camps, to learn about their experiences as campers.
What experiences will you take from camp to help you along your educational/career journey?
Blake is interested in studying Medical Laboratory Technology at Dalhousie and working at the IWK Children’s Hospital one day. One major takeaway for Blake was “understanding that if you really need help with something there’s always people who can help,” he said. Tessa, who is interested in working with kids as a paediatrician, agreed: “there’s lots of people to support you, and scholarships, and people to help you get into university,” she says, “I’ll remember that people are always there to help me out.”
What were some of your favourite sessions?
The three days of summer camps were jam-packed with sessions and activities. “I like the session where we went to the Health Sciences Building and got to see x-rays and stuff,” Blake said, “just learning about the different fields in science and medicine was really cool.”
“I really like learning about occupational therapy, and mental health. I really loved the paediatric one and you get to work one on one with the kids,” said Tessa. “I really liked going into the sessions to see how things were set up, like the nursing sessions and having robots to practice on – that was really cool,” she added, “for nursing they bring in students to act out scenarios, like if they have appendicitis, and how they would treat them using actors and makeup.”
Blake and Tessa also enjoyed the cultural development sessions like drumming and beading. “I liked the drumming,” said Blake, “it was similar to Indigenous drumming in some ways and different in others.” Tessa enjoyed the beading workshops, even though it was challenging: “the beading was really hard, it’s really pretty, but hard to get used to,” she said.
Do you have any final thoughts for readers?
Tessa and Blake both agreed that meeting new friends was one of the biggest highlights from summer camp. “One thing to improve would be having more time to hang out with friends,” said Tessa.
Try new things! If you feel unconfident: don’t, it’s a bad mindset. – Blake
I didn’t know if I wanted to come to camp but I’m really glad I did, so try new things! – Tessa