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The GEN7 logo was created by GEN7 messengers and Métis graphic designer Chris Laramée. It is an illustration of the vision and mission of the GEN7 program, representing all Aboriginal people.

Why is this logo so important?

The person in the middle of the logo represents a person or role model reaching for their dreams. The stars themselves have several meanings. They represent the seven generations of Aboriginal people to heal our nations, they represent dreams and also the seven sacred teachings: humility, respect, courage, love, wisdom, truth and honesty.

The circles and colors of the logo represent the four nations of people: black, white, yellow and red nations The circles themselves represent, starting from the inside out: the individual youth, family, community and nation.

GEN7’s goal is to increase the health of indigenous nations. Indigenous people have a strong connection to their nations as a whole, and indigenous knowledge recognizes each nation as sovereign and self governing.

The circle as a whole represents all Indigenous people. It encompasses the holism, and connection to each other and to nature which creates balance. The outer circle represents our Métis brothers and sisters, and the individual in the centre of the logo is standing on the Inukshuk which is to our brothers and sisters to the North. The feather on the head of the individual represents the eagle feather which holds several meanings for First Nations people. For many, the eagle is believed to be a messenger of the creator and is a powerful symbol of courage which is why its feathers are such powerful tools for healing. (http://www.shannonthunderbird.com/symbols_and_meanings.htm)

 

GEN7 Messengers visit a community multiple times for a full day each time, over a period of 9-12 months, and work with youth to set realistic short-term and long-term goals for themselves as individuals and for their community. These goals are focused on sport and physical activity in some way. By setting and achieving goals between GEN7 visits, youth recognize their true potential and the power of goal setting by developing sport and recreation programs that meet specific needs within their communities. Some examples of skills that are taught during GEN7 workshops include: goal setting, action planning, fundamental sport skills development, healthy nutrition, fundraising, proposal writing, community mapping, program development, positive youth engagement and organizational skills. Each visit builds on the previous one and incorporates capacity building and cultural activities as well as sport throughout a full day. Physical activity is a key component for each visit and represents between 60%-80% of the day. Between visits, GEN7 role models connect with youth through social media and email providing mentoring and support as the youth work on their goals and projects. Success and the legacy of the GEN7 program is measured by the development of educated youth leaders who contribute to their communities by living healthier lifestyles, mentoring other youth to do the same, and developing sport and recreation projects that bring their community together. 

GEN7 Messengers are Aboriginal youth between the ages of 18 to 29 who may be high performance athletes or physically active leaders. They are recruited, interviewed and selected based on a broad range of criteria which includes such attributes as: connection and awareness of their own culture, understanding of the history of Aboriginal people in Canada, involvement in sport and physical activity, commitment to living healthy lifestyles, leadership skills and ability to connect with their peers. Once they have been accepted to the program, GEN7 Messengers undergo an extensive training session which includes sessions on public speaking, cultural sensitivity, goal setting, program planning, conflict management, suicide prevention and community mapping. This training is instrumental in ensuring that the Messengers have the tools they need to work with communities and youth in a meaningful and effective manner.

After their training has been completed and their final assessment has been accepted, the GEN7 Messengers are matched with a community in their geographic region. The community may not be of the same heritage as the Messenger (such as an Ojibway Messenger with an Ojibway community) which is why the cultural sensitivity training is important. GEN7 Messengers visit a community multiple times for a full day each time, over a period of 9-12 months, and work with youth to set realistic short-term and long-term goals for themselves as individuals and for their community. 

What is GEN7?

In collaboration with Active Circle, GEN7 encourages Aboriginal youth to live, and encourage others to live, an active and healthy lifestyle through sport, physical activity, and other means. GEN7 also helps Aboriginal youth to become leaders in their community.

When and why was it developed?

In 2004, after ten years of running the Esteem Team program, it became clear that one group of youth was not being adequately reached: those of Aboriginal descent. Drawing from the expertise gained through the Esteem Team, and in partnership with the Aboriginal Sport Circle, GEN7 was developed in 2005 as a role model program specifically designed for Aboriginal youth and the unique challenges they face.

How does it work?

With the creation of the Active Circle program in 2008, GEN7 became an instrumental part of establishing a trusting relationship with Aboriginal communities. Our GEN7 Messengers are Aboriginal athletes and role models who are also trained by Motivate Canada in public speaking and facilitation. When a GEN7 Messenger is ready, he or she is paired with an Aboriginal community to act as a role model and motivator for the youth of that community. GEN7 Messengers visit a community repeatedly, and during this process they listen and learn to identify areas of interest for community development and develop connections with the community’s youth, Elders, and other leaders.

Additionally, thanks to the work of the GEN7 Messenger, the youth of the community are equipped to take the lead on tackling the community’s issues and improving their lives and the lives of those around them.

 

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