Ranch Ehrlo staff members Wade Lavallee and Lexie Obey recently provided youth with a great opportunity at Jordan House and Emergency Receiving on the Pilot Butte campus.

In a socially distanced way, Wade and Lexie exchanged a deer hide between their programs. Youth were given the chance to work on processing and tanning the hide, which will be turned into a hand drum that they can use.

“The reason that I think it is imperative for youth to learn cultural activities such as this is that it connects youth with identity,” Wade, a youth care leader in Pilot Butte, said.

“I believe that identity is an integral role to their development as young individuals. In addition to this, I think it is just as important for reconciliation with the youth in our program of different cultures, to understand the process, and the teachings that follow.”

Youth in Emergency Receiving began the process and participants in Jordan House have finished the drum.

“From what I have been told a lot of youth at Jordan really bought in and feel it's a cool process to see it start to finish,” Wade said. 

Wade and Lexie came up with the idea after attending a drum making workshop on Kahkewistahaw First Nation.

They continue to learn tanning and processing and look forward to sharing their knowledge with the youth.

“I had a little experience when I was younger with processing animals with my dad,” Wade said. “In regards to processing the hide, it has been something quite new to both of us.”

Wade said he hopes in the future they will be able to bring in experienced teachers to share their knowledge. With COVID-19, they are a bit restricted in that effort.