Respect Through HipHopaaarr

(for younger kids ages 10 -13)

This new program is targeted towards younger youth in Canadas First Nations and Inuit communities. Without exception we always get request in every community to do something for the younger youth (Ages 10-13). Usually these youth have not been involved in our workshops as the content and language used was targeted to older youth and young adults. Our new program will be adapted in content and language to focus on a strong healing and learning experience for these younger youth that is also fun. We know that this age group will enthusiastically want to participate as most of them had older brothers and sisters who were involved in our “Social Work Through Hiphop” workshops, and many of them have seen our final evening celebrations that took place in all the communities we visited.

This is an important age as these youth are easily swayed towards bullying and angry outburst. In all of our work in remote communities we consistently hear a concern expressed that young children are not learning about respect, and that this problem manifest itself not only in the schools, but also in the family homes and wider community in such things as vandalism. This will be the recurring theme on many levels that will connect all of the activities and discussions in this week long workshop. BluePrintForLife hopes to engage these youth in learning direct skills to manage their emotions and learn about different kinds of respect through teamwork with others. As in all our workshops, we create an intense, structured and safe learning environment, which promotes transformation in even the shiest of kids and starts them on a path of believing in themselves.

What will the program look like

The program will be similar to our original program in that it will be an intense combination of dance, cultural activities and daily discussions around the issues in their lives. Due to a shorter attention span in younger youth we will divide our daily discussions into two shorter segments, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. The topics discussed will be changed slightly to target this younger audience and the language we use in the discussions will be adapted to this younger crowd. These discussions will be lead by BluePrints founder Stephen Leafloor, aka Buddha. Stephen has a Masters degree in Social work and over 30 years of frontline experience working with youth. As in all our projects translations to French and Inuktitut will be included. We strongly suggest that local counselors and teachers be involved in all of these discussions.

We will cover such topics as

  1. Bringing your own culture into Hiphop and cultural pride.
  2. Anger management (finding your one mic)
  3. Bullying -learning to say youre sorry !
  4. Drugs, alcohol and cigarette smoking.
  5. Respect – of oneself , others, and ones environment and community.
  6. Sexual abuse – (A more simplified talk about good touch, bad touch -being safe ? and no means no)
  7. Each One Teach One. (a talk about leading by example)
  8. Sugar intake  (Type 2 diabetes concerns)
  9. Who to talk to when bad things happen.
  10. We are also open to adapting these topics slightly based on specific concerns expressed from the communities we will be visiting.

Mentoring some older youth as leaders in training.

We see this workshop being slightly shorter in time due to the younger age of the kids. (from 9 to 3 PM) each day. The Blueprint team will stay from 3-5 pm each day and help train some of the older youth who we have worked with on previous workshops when we visited the community, as well as offer an adult only class.

We would like to use this program to help mentor some older youth in the community who have shown some leadership skills and are interested in learning how to teach younger youth. We see ourselves being able to accommodate 10 -15 of these young leaders who will assist us daily in our program and learn from our techniques of teaching in a direct mentor-ship role. We will use the 3-5 PM time-frame each day to teach some leadership skills to these young adults and prepare some segments for the following day that they can take the lead in facilitating (With the support of Blueprint). This type of integration and leadership training will provide good ongoing skills to help continue local Hiphop clubs and perhaps employment for these young leaders.

The ratio of Blueprint staff to youth will remain consistent with past projects in that we will have 1 staff per 10 participants. (A team of 10 can work with up to 100 young people)

Follow-up activities

In keeping with the literacy challenges of Northern Schools we will encourage follow-up homework where all the youth participants will be required to write a short one page story of what the week meant to them and what they learned. Another follow-up exercise will be to have a follow-up art class where they need to draw a picture about the week.

BluePrint will leave some Hiphop prizes so that the teachers can help motivate the students in writing theses letters to the Blueprint team. We would like a selection of these to be copied and sent to Blueprint so we can highlight some of this work on our website.

A focus on cultural pride

Workshops will have daily scheduled activities where various cultural activities can be explored. These can include traditional drumming, traditional songs, throat singing, and Inuit and arctic sports. We are happy to have local cultural artist involved in these segments each day.

There will also be a 9 x 5 ft art mural produced during the week by the kids – focusing on positive messages and cultural symbols.
Not just dance (more games)

Given that a younger age group may have challenges on staying focused on the longer dance training sections we will use a variety of group games that are not only fun but also involve teamwork. These will be used as needed to re-focus the youth and bring their energy back.

The final show

As in all our one week workshops we will work towards a final showcase for the community where everyone is invited on the Friday evening to celebrate and applaud the achievements of the young participants. This evening will showcase cultural activities, dance choreography and a dance cipher, and the unveiling of a large 9 x 5 ft art mural that the youth created.

Teachers involvement

As in our other workshops teachers , counsellors, police and elders will all be strongly encouraged to be involved as participants when ever possible. We have often heard that such involvement changes dramatically how these adults are perceived by the kids and we are optimistic that this new found respect will transfer into the classroom and community after BluePrint is gone.

We will also invite Elders on the afternoon of day 4 for a fun engagement and short showcase by the kids. This is always great fun as we often get Elders up dancing or trying their hand at Djing.

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