Youth Leadership Paddle Program

In the summer of 2017, Sea to Cedar piloted our Youth Leadership Paddle Program. Based on our program success, the positive feedback from participants and families, and strong community support, we continue to offer this program and hope for a future of continued collaboration with Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw communities and families.

This year, the Youth Leadership Paddling Program is a 13-day intermediate program, including a 10-day canoe expedition, for Musgamagw Dzawada̱’enuxw (MD) youth, aged 13-18. As always, it is offered at no cost to families.   

Centred out of Gwayasdums, youth spend two days developing their canoe skills, then depart for ten days on a canoe camping expedition in their territory. Our route this summer will be paddling from Gilford Village to Bond Sound (with a boat ride back to the village). The trip culminates in a graduation celebration supported by the community.

For more information, to get involved, or to sponsor youth to attend the program, please contact


Program overview

The Youth Leadership Paddle Program is a 10-day program, including a 7-day canoe expedition, for Musgmagw Dzawada’enuxw (MD) youth, aged 13-18, and is offered at no cost to families. Centred out of the remote community of Gilford Village (aka: Gwayasdums), youth spend two days developing their canoe skills, then depart for seven days on a canoe camping expedition in their territory. The trip culminates in a graduation celebration supported by the community of Gwayasdums. Youth learn how to safely and responsibly use the ocean environment and outdoors in general for recreational, educational, and leadership use. They learn about the marine environment with respect to canoe travel (e.g. navigation, wind/waves, rescue, weather, tides, chart/compass and tarps/knots). They also learn about leadership skills, safety, and risk management.

One of the unique opportunities the Paddling Program provides is the space for Musgamagw youth, who may otherwise not have met, to connect. The bonding begins by working together towards a common goal, sharing in the challenges and successes as a group, and then solidifies when that goal is achieved. The experience of weathering adversity and the laughter it creates bonds people to people, and people to place.

All goals and objectives of the Sea to Cedar Paddle Program are geared towards Musgamagw Dzawada̱’enux̱w youth in order to develop a program that best meets their needs. More precisely, our goals and objectives are to provide these youth with the following:

  • Leadership training opportunities

  • Access to canoes and safety equipment

  • Certifiable canoe skills

  • Safety skills when travelling on the ocean

  • Survival and camping skills

  • Sense of pride and accomplishment, overcoming challenges

  • Open and honest communication with each other

Youth who complete the program have the opportunity to achieve the following Paddle Canada skills certifications:

  • Lake Canoe Skills Intermediate Tandem

  • Coastal Canoeing Skills Intermediate



We could not operate this program without the generous support and in-kind contributions of  the many individuals, organizations and business’ that ensure this programs success.

  • The Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation community and council

  • The Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Fisheries Group

  • Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort

  • Mountain Equipment Co-op

  • Sfaira Foundation

  • Power To Be

  • Outward Bound