At first, it was selfish. I was upset and worried about losing my job. I let that feeling overshadow most other things, and stopped giving myself fully to the experience. I started spending a good part of my time job hunting, and thinking about what’s next.
But now, I’ve gotten over myself. I’m still job hunting, but I know that whatever needs to happen will happen. So, now it’s not just losing my that job that’s upset me, it’s that in choosing to cut the Katimavik program from the federal budget, our government has chosen to cut a truly remarkable program. Katimavik is a program that has proven itself over the last 35 years to be not only a tremendous learning experience for its participants, but also an incredible amount of help to communities across Canada.
I haven’t had – and won’t have – the chance to work for Katimavik for very long, but over the short amount of time I’ve spent living the program, I’ve been a witness to so many amazing things. I have seen my ‘children’ happily give so much of their time and energy to help local non-profit organizations – organizations that are suffering from the same budget cuts, as well as from losing their Katimavik kids. I’ve seen youth take control of their own lives and figure out what the next step is. I’ve watched them work so hard to figure out who they are : living with 11 other people is not an easy task, and they (and I!) end up spending a lot of time rethinking and re-evaluating our values and what is important to us, as well as really just figuring out how to interact with all sorts of people. I have watched proudly as young adults from across the country have made efforts to learn the other official language. I have seen them take huge steps and make great efforts to understand and help others. I have watched and coached as they became proud and accomplished house managers, learning how to run a house filled with 11 other people – all with different habits and priorities. I’ve had the privilege of watching them feel so proud for everything they are accomplishing, and helping them learn and recognize what their own strengths and talents are.
I have had the privilege, even for just a short while, to work in an environment where youth are really, truly respected and encouraged to become all that they can be. I am honored to have had a job where my job is to give back, to make our canadian communities better places, to help build a better world filled with amazing citizens.
I believe that it is our responsibility to do all we can to save this wonderful, crazy program, to give another 30,000 kids the chance of participating in this mad, life-changing adventure.
Write, call and visit your MPs. Make it known that our government is making a mistake – over the last 6 months, I can promise you that I have learned that Katimavik is the very fibre of what we want our Canada to be.
And now, with 6 weeks left of this amazing experience, I’m going to go and give it my all.