Applications are now CLOSED for the 2022 FOXY Peer Leader Retreats! Applications for the 2023 FOXY Peer Leader Retreats will open May 2023!

IntroductionDownload Registration PackageSchedulePacking ListThings to KnowFAQ

The FOXY Peer Leader Retreats for young women take place over the July and August every year, and all young women between the ages of 13 to 17 years who live in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut are invited to apply!

There is no charge to anyone who participates in the FOXY Peer Leader Program.  All expenses for participants, including travel from their home communities to Yellowknife are covered through the generous support of the Arctic Inspiration Prize and our other sponsors.

Participants receive 2 high school credits for their active participation in the Retreat, and 2 additional credits for their completion of a Community Project when they return to home communities!

Participants at the FOXY Peer Leader Retreat will have the opportunity to learn about sexual health and healthy relationships through photography, music, theatre, digital story telling, and traditional beading.  No previous experience with the arts is necessary!

All participants will spend time during the Retreat planning a small Community Project that they will deliver when they return to their home communities with help from a mentor and FOXY. The FOXY team will provide resources to assist with the planning, and will help connect the Peer Leader with supports when they return home.

A person is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of a Government of Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine (that is, two doses if it has been less than six months since you got your second dose, OR three doses if it has been more than six months since you got your second dose).

Proof of vaccination will be required. 

Applications are now open for the 2022 FOXY Peer Leader Retreats!


  • FOXY Retreat #1: July 25-August 2, 2022
  • FOXY Retreat #2: August 15-23, 2022

New Peer Leaders:

If you have NOT attended a FOXY Retreat before, please download the following application form for New Peer Leaders

Returning Peer Leaders:

If you have attended a FOXY Retreat before and are interested in returning as a Peer Apprentice, please download the application form for Returning Peer Leaders

(subject to change):

Day 1

  • Participants arrive in Yellowknife from their home communities
  • Participants and facilitators spend the night at a team sleepover at the Yellowknife Ski Club

Day 2

  • Participants and facilitators leave for Blachford Lake Lodge at 9am via float planes
  • Participants arrive at Blachford, get settled, and eat lunch before doing an orientation and getting started on camp activities!

Day 3 – Day 7

  • Participants take part in art projects, outdoor activities, sexual and mental health education, empowerment
    exercises, and planning their Community Projects

Day 8

  • Participants spend the morning presenting their community project plans to the group
  • After lunch, everyone packs and gets ready to leave
  • Over supper, we give out our Camp Awards
  • At 7pm, we get onto the planes and return to Yellowknife
  • All participants and facilitators go to Yellowknife Ski Club for a team sleepover

Day 9

  • Participants all return to their home communities. We’ll miss you!
  • End of Retreat-December 15 
  • Participants check in with the Program Coordinator until they have completed their Community Projects (Due before December 15th).

Blachford is a premier lodge, but some activities will be outside and everything will take place in a rustic environment. Please do NOT bring anything that you will be upset about if it gets damaged/lost!

This is a suggested packing list, but remember that all of our accommodations will be shared, and you’ll be responsible for keeping track of all of your belongings. Most of what you need (such as bedding, pillows, and towels) will be provided while at Blachford.

Please pack light! Make sure that your baggage is within the weight limit of your flights to Blachford/Yellowknife (around 30lbs).


Even though it will be summertime, please remember that it can get chilly at night!

    • T-shirts – bring your FOXY t-shirts/hoodies if you have one!
    • Jeans/outdoor-appropriate pants
    • Shorts
    • Comfortable clothes for being active (Stretchy/loose clothing)
    • Pajamas
    • Swim suit/trunks
    • Hoodie
    • Underwear
    • Socks
    • Sandals (optional)
    • Water shoes (optional, if you want them for swimming)
    • Runners or light hiking shoes
    • Light waterproof jacket (in case it rains)
    • Sunhat/ball cap
    • Toiletries
      • Toothbrush & toothpaste
      • Hairbrush and/or comb, hair ties (optional)
      • Lip balm
      • Deodorant
      • Glasses/contacts/contact solution (if needed)
      • Menstrual products (if needed)
      • Sunscreen
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera and battery charger (optional)
    • Backpack
    • Water bottle (reusable and marked with your name!)
    • Flashlight or headlamp
    • Eye Mask for sleeping (optional)
    • A book (optional)
    • Swimming towel (shower towels will be provided)
    • Any medications in their original containers (these are to be given to the Retreat First Aider on the first day for safe keeping – they will be given back to you at the end!)
    • Sleeping bag, pillow, and a small foamie for the sleepovers in Yellowknife (these will get stored in Yellowknife when we go out to Blachford – so pack them separately from the rest of your gear! If you are coming from a community that is very far away, please discuss this with FOXY staff as you may be able to borrow some of ours instead!

  • At Blachford, you will be sharing a cabin or room in the lodge with other participants. If you have any
    concerns about this, or would like to make any special requests, please contact us in advance. 
  • At the FOXY Peer Leader Retreat, smoking (cigarettes, vaping, marijuana), vaping, drinking, and
    drugs are strictly prohibited. Please leave these items at home so they don’t jeopardize your chance
    to stay at the Retreat. 
  • We will make all attempts to accommodate special medical, nutritional, and personal needs, however due to
    the nature of our venue, there may only be so much we can do. Please be honest about your needs and we
    will work with you as much as possible to make sure that you have the best time at the Retreat! 
  • Please be honest and thorough with your health form. It allows us to prepare for all possibilities while at the
  • During the two evenings we are spending in Yellowknife, all participants and facilitators must remain at
    Yellowknife Ski Club for the duration of the sleepovers as these are team-building activities that are
    central to the FOXY Peer Leader Retreat. There will be no exceptions made. 
  • During our time at Blachford Lake Lodge, participants are not able to leave for any reason outside of an
    emergency. If a participant must be removed from the site for disciplinary reasons, the cost of the
    flight charter will be forwarded on to the participant’s family. 
  • All successful NWT participants in the FOXY Peer Leader Retreat will receive 2 Grade 10-level credits in
    the NWT school system. The Peer Leader Community Projects are worth 2 Grade 11-level credits for NWT
    students when they’re completed!
  • FOXY strongly discourages you from bringing your phone or device to the Retreat – we don’t have cell
    service anyway, and the limited wireless Internet is exclusively for the use of the Blachford Lake Lodge staff.
    If you are concerned about your device getting lost or damaged, please leave it at home. If you choose to
    bring your phone it will be collected at the Ski Club and put in a lock box for safekeeping for the
    duration of the Retreat. We’ll be super busy anyway doing fun things, and many participants in previous
    years found that they enjoyed being free from their electronic devices during the Retreat! FOXY staff will
    be taking some photos that will be available for you to view after the Retreat, and you are welcome to bring
    your own digital camera as well if you’d like to capture your memories!

What is the Peer Leader Retreat?

The FOXY Peer Leader Retreat is an opportunity for young women from around the Northwest Territories to come together and talk about the issues that affect them in their real lives – relationships, sexual health, friendships, and social issues. Over the last four years, we’ve been travelling around the NWT doing workshops with young women in junior high and high school, and this Retreat is the chance for them to get even more involved with FOXY. The Retreat will be a week of working with female artists from around the North on different types of creative self-expression, as well as the chance to each develop their own Community Project to address the needs they see within their own community and group of peers.

Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

FOXY requires all retreat participants and staff to be fully vaccinated.

A person is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of a Government of Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine (that is, two doses if it has been less than six months since you got your second dose, OR three doses if it has been more than six months since you got your second dose).

Proof of vaccination will be required. 

Will I be camping? Will there be showers?

We will be staying at Blachford Lake Lodge, a premier lodge that is about a 20-minute float plane flight from Yellowknife. There are full bathrooms located in the lodge, with toilets, sinks, and showers. Some participants will get rooms in the main lodge, and some will be staying in cabins, but all of the accommodations are beautiful and very cozy – no tents or sleeping bags! However, you must bring a sleeping bag and pillow (to be packed separately) for the sleepovers we’ll be having in Yellowknife on the days before and after the Retreat.

Who is organizing the Retreat?

The FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) Peer Leader Retreat is organized by founder Candice Lys, a PhD Candidate in Public Health from Fort Smith, Director of Programs, Amanda Kanbari and Program Coordinator, Kiera BR. FOXY has existed since March 2012 thanks to the support and funding of the the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Arctic Inspiration Prize, and our other amazing sponsors.

When is it?

This year we are holding our first Peer Leader Retreat from July 25 – August 2nd, 2022 and our second FOXY Peer Leader Retreat August 15-23, 2022. On the first and last nights, we will be staying at The Yellowknife Ski Club so we can accommodate everybody’s travel schedules, and we will be spending the other six nights at Blachford Lake Lodge.

Is there a cost to attend?

There is no cost to participants for attending the FOXY Peer Leader Retreat. All costs will be covered by our main funder, the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as the generous support of our other sponsors. We are happy to work with many awesome Northern airlines to ensure that we can fly folks from even the most remote communities to Yellowknife to attend the Retreat, and Blachford Lake Lodge, to offer our Retreat in a world-class location.

What is the selection criteria?

All young women living in the Northwest Territories who are between the ages of 13  and 17 (on July 22, 2022) are encouraged to apply, but we currently only have spaces to take 25 participants for each Retreat. We will try to include as many people as we can, but if we have too many applicants, we will try to make sure that we have all of the regions of the 3 Northern territories represented.

If I came to the Peer Leader Retreat last year, can I attend again in 2022?

Possibly! We have a couple spots reserved for returning Peer Leaders as Facilitator Apprentices, so we encourage you to submit a 2022 Returning Peer Leader application if you want to join us again! 

Are boys invited too?

This Peer Leader Retreat is for young women and those who identify as female.  We’ve been doing workshops with young women for the last five years, and are excited to spend some more time with them talking about the issues that affect them and their friends.

The SMASH Peer Leader Retreat is for young men across the NWT!  Check out our SMASH webpage for more information!

What if I don’t identify as a girl or a boy, or if I am a trans person? Is there a place for me at FOXY/SMASH?
FOXY/SMASH aim to be inclusive of all sexual orientations and genders.  Transgender, Two-spirit, gender-queer, and all sexual and gender identities are welcome at our FOXY/SMASH programming.  Please call FOXY/SMASH Executive Director Candice at (867) 444-9108 or email her at if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to talk about your Retreat application.

How do I apply?

Please complete an application (available for download on our website!) or by emailing or calling Candice at 867-444-9108.

What is the FOXY team doing to ensure the participants’ physical and emotional safety while at the Retreat?

The FOXY team takes safety very seriously and knows that scraped knees and broken bones aren’t the only ways someone can get hurt. We are very fortunate to have a registered nurse on site during the Retreat who is available to provide first aid in the case of an emergency. In addition, several of our FOXY facilitators are trained in CPR and Wilderness First Aid, and Blachford Lake Lodge staff are also trained in Wilderness First Aid. All participants and facilitators will take part in Blachford Lake Lodge’s full orientation and safety briefing upon arrival at the Lodge. There will be an adult facilitator staying in each cabin, so participants will have adult supervision at all times.

Regarding participants’ emotional safety, FOXY can include introspective activities that occasionally touch on some uncomfortable or awkward topics. While we try to ensure that all our FOXY activities occur in a safe space, free of judging and intolerance, we also encourage participants to come forward if they are feeling overwhelmed, scared, or upset. If they are triggered by any activity, they are encouraged to excuse themselves, either for a moment to take a break or for the remainder of the activity. A professionally trained mental health worker will attend the Retreat to be on hand for the participants, and several FOXY staff members are trained in mental health first aid and crisis intervention.

If you have any concerns about a potential participant’s well-being, please contact us to discuss them.