Students help build Elder’s Village while learning valuable lessons

The Ermineskin Cree Nation will soon be providing three homes for the community’s new Elder’s Village.

What makes this special is that these homes, along with nine more, are being built by high school students from the Maskwascis community.

The Saskatchewan based, “Your Choice Homes” has been brought in to teach the young people the basics of construction and more.

“A lot of students have never used power tools,” said Jayson Noek from Your Choice Homes. “A lot of students have never seen behind drywall.

“We do modules like financial literacy.”

(“My Kookum has been asking me to help make her pots for her flowers,” says Ray-Vin Samson since starting the program. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN)

The company is providing construction worker 101 for high school students.

Students get a high school credit, and the work also counts as apprentice hours.

15-year-old Ray-Vin Samson said she has already learned a lot in the four weeks since she started.

“Putting up the walls, dry walls, shingling, and some of the electric.” she told APTN News.

He said that putting up drywall was her favorite.

“It’s messy, and it’s fun,” she said laughing.

18-year old Ashton Potts said he will be going to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in the fall to continue his training in construction.

(Ashton Potts works away at the Elder’s Village. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN)

She said the training and hours put in here to help build the Elder’s Village was invaluable.

“I’ve been framing, I’ve been putting up the shingles here, I’ve been doing drywall… I actually did a lot here and I helped with the wiring a bit,” Potts said.

“Because I’ve been in this program, I now know what I am doing.”


(The Elder’s Village on the Ermineskin Cree Nation. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN)

Samon said she has already put his new skills to the test.

“My Kookum has been asking me to help make her pots for her flowers. That’s been really easy because I now know how to use power tools!” she said.

The students will continue working over the summer while the weather is good to finish these three homes, and to begin construction on the ones after.



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