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Nîkânîw combines the cultural teachings and guidance of Indigenous Elders and Leaders with the instruction of water safety education, first aid, CPR, leadership and life skills. These program areas complement each other, teaching a respect for Mother Earth, and especially the element of water.

Successful completion of the program can result in certification of Lifeguard and Swim Instructor prerequisite courses: Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, amenity attendant, and Standard first aid including volunteer/work experience at City of Edmonton leisure centres.

Opportunities to participate in advanced aquatic certifications and other recreational leadership pursuits will be available based on individual interests and skills. Many participants have gone on to be leaders in the community and to have careers in aquatics.


  • Complete a registration form and participate in an interview with the Nîkânîw Programmer
  • Of Aboriginal Ancestry – First Nation, Métis or Inuit
  • Aged 14-22 years old during the program season
  • Committed to training in Aquatics and/or other Leadership areas
  • Have an interest in gaining swimming experience
  • Able to commit to regularly attending the program


Incentives are valued at over $3,000!

Participants receive:

  • A monthly Edmonton Public Transit Pass for the duration of enrollment
  • A City of Edmonton Leisure Centre Facility Pass for the duration of enrollment
  • Program supplies and materials
  • Registration fees to advanced aquatics courses
  • A light meal each session


Nîkânîw means “one who leads the way” in Cree. The Nîkânîw Aboriginal Youth Leadership Program is an opportunity for Aboriginal youth to gain leadership skills that will lead to increased opportunities in the future.

Our objectives are:

  • Leadership development and employment opportunities through role models and mentoring
  • Aboriginal cultural learning and application
  • Physical and mental challenge and risk taking
  • Identify support and resources for success

For More Information

Lorie White



Fax 780-496-6910

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