10 Years of FOXY


FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) is turning 10 in 2022! Since our inception in 2012, we’ve reached over 7,600 youth across the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon!

How We Got Here

March 2012
History of FOXY
First FOXY Workshop

FOXY held its first-ever school workshop at the Hay River Youth Centre. Six high school students focus-tested a brand new way of learning about sexual health and healthy relationships – through drama and the arts! Further focus testing workshops in Fort Smith and Yellowknife followed, and FOXY was born!

(Photo: FOXY workshop in Tulita, 2012)

July 2013
History of FOXY
First FOXY Retreat

In July of 2013, 20 young girls and gender-diverse youth boarded float planes and headed to Blachford Lake Lodge for the first ever FOXY Peer Leader Retreat! Over the course of a week on the land, participants learned about sexual health and completed workshops on body-mapping, photography, drumming and more.

Dec 2014
History of FOXY
Winning the Arctic Inspiration Prize

In 2014, FOXY made history as the first organization to be awarded the entire $1 million Arctic Inspiration Prize at a gala event in Ottawa. FOXY would use the funds from the prize to create a companion program for young northern men.

(Photo credit: Fred Cattroll)

July 2016
History of FOXY
First SMASH Retreat

July 2016 marked the first ever SMASH (Strength, Masculinities and Sexual Health) Retreat at Blachford Lake Lodge. In the fall of 2016, SMASH workshops began to be offered in Northern schools alongside FOXY.

June 2022
History of FOXY
FOXY/SMASH Celebrates 10 Years!

FOXY/SMASH celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the organization by hosting the Call of the North: Youth Leadership Summit at Blachford Lake Lodge. It was also the first all-gender retreat we've ever held! 23 young leaders from across the North participated in reflections on mental health, resiliency, diversity, reconciliation and sexual health. We also had a 10 Year birthday party for FOXY/SMASH complete with cake!

Where are they now?

Anyone who has attended a FOXY or SMASH workshop or retreat knows the important roles our Peer Facilitators (or PFs) play in delivering our content. Simply put, we couldn’t do our jobs without them! 
In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we caught up with some of our past PFs to find out how working for FOXY and SMASH affected their lives, and to see what they’re up to now!

"I always feel wanted and appreciated there."
Kendrick Bolt
Kugluktuk, Nunavut

SMASH allowed me to make new friends, taught me things I didn’t know, and taught me some things I need to know about living life. It also brought me happiness because of the people that are working there, they all became my family working time to time. I always feel wanted and appreciated there.

Recently, FOXY/SMASH gave me the chance to go to Vancouver to write and record an EP album of metal music. This summer I’ll be performing at Folk on the Rocks in Yellowknife. I wish Covid could go away so everything can go back to normal and I can start doing SMASH workshops again, but music is keeping me sane.

"I am still a passionate advocate for healthy sexuality."
Fia Grogono
Yellowknife, NWT

I worked with FOXY as a peer leader from 2012-2015, then went on to study contemporary dance in Montreal and completed my bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. I have also trained in massage therapy, hypnosis, and medical qi-gong, and now offer workshops combining these tools to support people in feeling better in their bodies and minds. I’m currently developing a business to offer healing movement modalities to the North. I am still a passionate advocate for healthy sexuality, and believe it can play a key role in empowering people to have confidence in themselves and their bodies.

"My experience with FOXY has shown me the importance of community and being open minded."
Treiva Plamondon
Hay River, NWT

I attended the first ever FOXY retreat in 2013 and became a Peer Facilitator is 2015. I graduated high school in 2017 and went on to complete the Personal Support Worker program in Yellowknife. Right out of college I started working for Home Care in Hay River. Although I loved working with elders in my community I had a calling to quit my job and travel across Australia. When the pandemic hit I had to cut my trip short and was forced to move back home to Canada. I started working again waiting for things to simmer down until it was safe enough for me to head out into the world to explore more. Once the borders opened I decided to travel Europe and luckily made it home in time before the next outbreak. I am currently working with FOXY/SMASH as a Facilitator and also started my own business as a Labour and Birth Doula.

If I were to describe FOXY in one word it would be empowering . My experience with FOXY has shown me the importance of community and being open minded. Even though FOXY’s main goal is sexual health I have learned so much more about life. I can’t help but thank them for the impact they had on my confidence and wellbeing. Thank you FOXY!

"I cherish the memories of the travels I did, the people I met and the lessons I learned"
Kiera BR
Hay River, NWT

Here’s to 10 years of FOXY! Since attending as a retreat participant in 2016 I went on to work as a Peer Facilitator my senior year of high school 2017. Though I did not work as a PF for long I cherish the memories of the travels I did, the people I met and the lessons I learned. In particular, I am so happy to have met and worked alongside Kleo Skavinski who is still to this day one of my favourite humans. After completing High School, I went on to study Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Alberta. Selecting my area of study was largely influenced by the experiences I had with FOXY that made me passionate about sexual/reproductive health, identifying and combating the patriarchy, mental health and unlearning and challenging the settler state. In 2021, I completed my bachelor’s degree and I’ve been working with all of the lovely staff at FOXY and SMASH since. I’d like to express my sincere thanks to Candice Lys for starting this program.

"Without being surrounded by the influence of FOXY growing up I don’t think I’d be the woman I am today."
Athena Sharp
Fort Smith, NWT

Since I was young I’ve always thought about how important it is to me to be a powerful woman. FOXY brought that dream into reality. Since I’ve been 13 I’ve looked up to everyone in the organization as incredibly strong people. When I started working for FOXY at 15 I got to share these values with other peers, in doing so it has always brought me a strong feeling of accomplishment, something I strive to continue to share with youth and young adults. I can still remember how exciting my first retreat was and how many people I met along my FOXY journey that have shaped my life. Without being surrounded by the influence of FOXY growing up I don’t think I’d be the woman I am today. One of the most rewarding aspects of the program for me was learning how to be a leader; I ran my first public campaign last year in 2021 hoping to gain a seat in the local municipal election. Although I lost this term I will not give up my dream of being a part of public office, I believe it’s very important to share with young adults and youth. Without FOXY I would’ve never had the confidence as a young woman to even think of putting myself out there like that. I will forever treasure my years working with the organization.

"Working for the program allowed me to have the self confidence I have today."
Katelynn Gaudet
Norman Wells, NWT

Since my days at FOXY, I’ve graduated from high school and took a year off to work. Now I’m at the university of Lethbridge studying a General Major of Social Science. Being a FOXY Peer Facilitator was a blast and I absolutely loved it! Working for the program allowed me to have the self confidence I have today. It made me have independence and gave me a great experience that I’ll forever be grateful for.

"The spaces facilitated by FOXY welcomed my creativity with enthusiasm and supported my curiosities and critiques of heteronormative, colonial power structures."
Kleo Skavinski
Hay River, NWT

My name is Kleo Skavinski and my pronouns are they/them/theirs. I am Dehcho Dene descended matrilineally from the Pehdzeh Ki First Nation, Treaty 11. I attended my first FOXY workshop in my hometown of Hay River, NT, in the year 2016. Later that same year, I had the privilege of attending a summer retreat at the Blachford Lake Lodge. At this retreat, I made life-long friends, exercised my voice and kick-started my journey of confidence and self-determination. I became a Peer Facilitator shortly later and started traveling with FOXY in the fall of 2016 to co-facilitate in-school workshops. The joy of a successful workshop motivated me to continue traveling in the winter months throughout my final years of secondary education, ending in 2019.

The spaces facilitated by FOXY welcomed my creativity with enthusiasm and supported my curiosities and critiques of heteronormative, colonial power structures. I am now entering my fourth year as an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts for Sociology with a minor in Critical Indigenous Studies; special interests in Critical Sexuality Studies, Creative Writing. and Gender, Race, and Social Justice. I often cite my lived experiences as an Indigenous anti-colonial scholar, including my time with FOXY working alongside particularly awe-inspiring folks. To this day, I carry forward incredible pride for my investments into FOXY and its legacies. I continue to renew my passion for working in, around, and for Northern communities.