In the fall of 2013, the authors received funding to help develop and implement an afterschool wellness program alongside Indigenous youth aged 6–10 years old in the North Central neighborhood of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The Growing Young Movers (GYM) afterschool program was funded, in part, as a corrective response to a broader social trend in which Indigenous youth in this neighbourhood reported declining health and wellness outcomes, as well as multiple other barriers to social inclusion.
This article discusses the reflections of three senior high school Indigenous youth (16–18 years old) who participated in the afterschool program as peer-mentors over a 2-year period from 2015 to 2017. Our inquiry reveals how these youth viewed the program—and their role(s) within it—in far more complex, active, and even political terms, than the program’s initial framing as a physical activity-based “intervention” had anticipated. Our analysis (re)positions youth according to their own personalized voice and narratives as: cultural leaders, knowledge holders, and as agents of change in their community.