Driftwood Outdoor Guide & Business Apprenticeship

Community Project Update

April 11, 2023

The notion that “Not every classroom has four walls” is embodied by the impressive work taking place in British Columbia, Canada. Under the leadership of Michael Schneider, Driftwood Valley Outfitters has developed a multiyear apprenticeship program for indigenous youth, specifically aimed at the Talka First Nation communities. This program is designed to build capacity within the guiding industry by providing a project-based learning platform that teaches students practical and business skills. In addition, the program fulfills the requirements for the completion of a high-school education.

The goal of the Driftwood Outdoor Guide and Business Apprenticeship program is to train at-risk youth in the skills needed for success in the wilderness, in the guiding tourism industry, and in other related industries. The youth in the program learn valuable skills and knowledge from experienced guide outfitters. These leaders incorporate indigenous knowledge and experiences into the lessons, and they seek to instill in their students the critical importance of developing and utilizing their basic human senses to navigate and survive in the wilderness.  The apprenticeship program provides a unique opportunity for individuals to learn a skilled trade in the hunting profession while gaining valuable training and experience. This type of hands-on learning can be incredibly rewarding and can lead to long-term career success.

These young people were recently given the opportunity to explore the world while promoting the beautiful landscapes, experiences, and adventures of British Columbia. At the beginning of the year Driftwood Valley Outfitters participated in Europe’s biggest hunting show. This incredible experience gave the apprentices invaluable lessons on customer service, respect, dedication, presentation, networking, communication, and salesmanship. Through such programs, young people can gain practical skills and global exposure, shaping them into well-rounded professionals who can make a difference in their communities and the world.

                   The youth visited historical landmarks in Germany, providing them with a unique opportunity

                   while immersing them in a diverse range of cultural and historical experiences.



The program also provides a range of unique opportunities for Indigenous youth to learn about their cultural heritage as they gain valuable skills and develop a strong connection to the land. With a hands-on approach to teaching, every student gets the chance to develop much-needed skills in the hunting profession. Trapping, a significant part of Indigenous history and culture, is taught in the program, with an emphasis on conservation and stewardship. While some students have had the opportunity to travel abroad to learn about historical and cultural subjects, others tended the traplines while continuing their education online. This demanding work requires an understanding of geography and remote terrain, but it provides an invaluable opportunity for Indigenous youth to gain skills, knowledge, and pride in their cultural heritage.

The Driftwood Valley Guide and Business Apprenticeship program is a unique and valuable program that continues to have a significant impact on the youth. Students grow in self-esteem, pride in their cultural heritage, and improved skills and knowledge.  The program continues to provide students with the skills they need to become successful hunters and business owners while immersing them in their cultural heritage.

By helping support Rowland Ward, you ensure that this program continues to have a significant impact on the youth, empowering them to become proud ambassadors of their culture and contributing members of their communities.