The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre’s Climbing Tree Mentorship Program held its first youth conference on May 18th. 

The Climb is a youth conference held by Climbing Tree Mentorship Program. This year, organizers brought together teenage girls from Red Deer to take part in a day of growth, healing, resiliency, and empowerment. Over 80 girls from grades 9 to 12 were invited to attend this conference where they heard about experiences from other women, learned about maintaining clean social media platforms in preparation for post-secondary education and job searching, and participated in engaging workshops like Chakra healing, bracelet making, and an art class. The girls even had their hair done by students from Delmar College. This all-female event was designed to empower these young women, and to give them the tools to help lead healthy, resilient lives. 

“I felt safe here, and got to hear other women’s stories.” – The Climb Attendee 

“I felt a strong sense of community while I was here, and feel more validated for my feelings.” – The Climb Attendee 

Nicole Jones is the Program Coordinator for the Climbing Tree Mentorship Program, and says this inaugural conference was important for these girls. 

“The Climb was an opportunity to provide a group of high school girls from our community with advice, information, and coping strategies for when life becomes a challenge. We put faces to some of the help that is available to these young people and showed them real-life examples of women who have overcome adversity and reached a place of personal success and peace. I hope that the interactions that took place yesterday were as meaningful for our attendees as they were for The Climb team,” explained Jones. 

The Climbing Tree Mentorship Program is one of the first of its kind. It is a program built for resiliency; for positive change and impacts; for our youths. Through age appropriate, health promoting activities, we can significantly improve the odds that a child will recover from the abuse they have experienced. The overall goal of the CTMP with volunteer mentors (currently offered to youths who have been supported by the CACAC), is to improve mental health, life skills and overall happiness of the youths to realize their full potential.