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Jays Care Foundation flies to Timmins to hold week-long youth retreat

Members of the foundation were in town to participate in a five-day retreat for indigenous girls from the Mushkegowuk First Nation Territories

Its not even spring yet and the Blue Jays have arrived in Timmins in early February.

Ok, we are not talking about 'blue jays' as in birds, nor are we talking about Jose Bautista, Marcus Stroman, or Josh Donaldson.

What we are talking about the Jays Care Foundation, the charity and community involvement part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization – they have arrived in Timmins to participate in a five-day retreat for indigenous girls from the Mushkegowuk First Nation Territories.

The five-day event which started today Saturday morning at the Timmins Ramada hotel will feature.

"This is the beginning of a long-term project that we are doing in the communities of the Mushkegowuk Territories," said Jules Porter of the Blue Jay Cares Foundation.

"The whole idea is, many of us had worked in First Nations communities before, and we heard about a lot of things that youth were doing, and we were asked to support them and their communities organize an event, which will give the youth an opportunity to explore their potential and do what they enjoy doing," Porter added.

"Our hope is that it will grow and help increase the network of support that these girls have," explained Porter. "Encourage them to do the things they were always dreaming of doing and hopefully we can give them opportunities that will help those who are contemplating suicide and reduce the number of youth suicides by giving these girls hope and confidence."

"Timmins has been selected to host the retreat, because it is central to Mushkegowuk Territory, and it is the urban hub for the remote areas along the James Bay Coast," Porter said. "And we received help from the Ontario Northland, who made a train available to bring the youth from Moose Cree First Nation to Timmins to so they could participate. 

Don Padley the Manager of the Ramada Inn Hotel said, " He is extremely honoured to be able to host this important retreat to help the youth of the Mushkegowuk Territory."

“We are making it our priority to welcome our guests from the Coast, who come to Timmins, and we are hoping to make our facilities inviting and friendly to our guests," Padley said.

“One of the things we did is to set up a tee-pee in our courtyard, that is there for the use of guests who want to conduct ceremonies or to have a quiet contemplation,” Padley added.

But this won’t be the only time this month that Ramada Inn will be hosting guests from the remote James Bay First Nations from Peawanuck, Attawapiskat, Fort Albany and Moose Cree.

Later in February, a number of participants at the Great Moon Gathering Educational Conference at Northern College will be guests of the hotel according to Padley.