Ice road tour reflections: A journey of resilience and connection

As LiveDifferent’s annual ice road tour came to a close, we found ourselves overwhelmed with gratitude, carrying with us countless stories of resilience, warmth, and the power of community. Over the course of six weeks, our dedicated road team ventured across the icy terrain of Northern Manitoba, bringing our Circles mental wellness program to 12 First Nations schools and reaching over 3,500 students.

Unforgettable connections

Setting out on this tour, we carried a message of hope and belonging, hoping to make a difference. What we found, however, was something truly remarkable—the incredible hospitality and friendship extended to us by these communities. The mental wellness programs we deliver are designed to initiate discussions on mental health, equip individuals with resilience tools, and nurture a sense of unity among students. The experience proved to be a profound journey of shared hope and understanding.

A journey like no other

Our team’s journey was nothing short of a testament to endurance, covering an impressive 5,000 km across the ice roads for over 90 hours, with travel speeds peaking at a cautious 20-30km/hr.

Finding billets in these remote areas presented its unique challenges, leading our team to stay in “teacherages”—lodgings for teachers—which offered us a glimpse into the lives of the locals. Dining on local specialties, especially moose meat, was not just about enjoying the meals but also about connecting, sharing stories, and celebrating the spirit of these unique communities.

Engaging with the youth

At the heart of this tour was our interaction with the students—laughing, learning, and sharing stories that transcended cultural boundaries and fostered a network of support and understanding. These interactions were not one-sided; while we aimed to inspire the youth, we found ourselves inspired by their resilience, optimism and warmth.

Gratitude and looking forward

This remarkable journey could not have been realized without the immense support and generosity of our partners, donors and community supporters. Your unwavering belief in our mission to enhance the lives of Indigenous youth has made a tangible, lasting difference. We are profoundly thankful for your support and are excited to continue this vital work together.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 27th, 2024