Former Rediscovery employees fundraising for teen trip to west coast

  • Jul. 29, 2009 2:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay-In order to keep their footprints on the land, Raven Ann Potschka and Tawn Dingwall have been pickling bull kelp, drying seaweed and gathering items to auction. The former Haida Gwaii Rediscovery employees are trying to raise money to take a group of teens out to the west coast this summer. The Rediscovery camp, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last summer, will not run this year. According to a report submitted to the Old Massett newsletter by Lawrence Jones, chair of the Haida Gwaii Rediscovery board, the group made a decision on June 15 that no camp would be held this summer. The report states that there was no budget for the summer program and that it would cost $170,000 to run it. Instead the board will work on a renovation at the camp in preparation for a program in 2010. Ms Potschka, who was expecting to work this summer, as she has for the past six summers, is disappointed by this decision. “I don’t want Haida Gwaii Rediscovery to end its 30 years with no camp,” she said. Ms Dingwall has an 11-year association with the camp. Not only did she grow up going to Rediscovery, but after she “aged out” she started working there. Both women were told they couldn’t assume they’d be working there this summer, says Ms Potschka. But she said it’s disappointing, after a winter of building relationships with the young people, only to then have to tell them that camp is not happening.Not only that, but she said the board didn’t meet all winter, or write any proposals. She said she would have helped out, but couldn’t get the necessary information from the board members. Meanwhile an entirely new board was elected in early June and they aren’t willing to allow Ms Potschka and Ms Dingwall access to the facilities.”We were concerned about how they were going to hire people and safety,” says Terry Russ, who is the new vice-chair. She added that there is no insurance out there and the new board stepped up to the plate with only $5,000 in Rediscovery’s kitty. Ms Russ said the new board is working hard to get the ball rolling and they are enlisting a lot of volunteers from Old Massett and Masset. She said a house inspector went out to Kiusta to look at the buildings and is making an assessment. Meanwhile renovation plans include demolishing the cookhouse for a bigger facility and doing work on the elders’ and children’s accommodations. She said it is unfortunate that some people are not happy with the board’s handling of the situation, but in general, they’ve received positive feedback. The new board is: Lawrence Jones, Teresa Russ, Donna Wesley, Medric Jones, Miranda Young, Charlene Lawrence, Gwaai Edenshaw, Darlene Bates and Terry Hamilton. The two young women have given up on the idea of a camp session, but they still want to bring a group of teens out to the area this summer. “We haven’t decided on dates, but we want to hike the west coast. maybe do a guided hike from Lepas Bay to Beresford for teens through QCI Rec,” she said.