For some golfing is a way of life, but for others, its a way of gaining life experience.
The Nak’azdli band and the Stuart Lake Golf Club have an ongoing partnership that allows band members the opportunity to work off the reserve. This year five band members have been hired to work from May to mid October.
“With Nak’azdli being partnered with the golf course, it gives us the opportunity to employ youth in our community and for them to receive experience in landscaping and working with various elements at the golf course,” said Amelia Stark, employment and training manager for the Nak’azdli band.
This is the third summer Dave Burgess, general manager of the Stuart Lake Golf Course, has run the golf course and is happy to have the First Nation youth aboard his team of workers.
“It’s been a real success and financial we couldn’t do it without them,” said Mr. Burgess.
The relationship between the band and golf club started ten years ago with help of the Nak’azdli band’s former social development manager Charlotte Distan. Since then, the golf course has provided a positive place for band members to gain vital work experience off the reserve.
The golf club currently supports two programs through the Nak’azdli band. The work opportunity program which helps those on social assistant to find work and, the summer student employment program which aims to provide youth work experience. Three high school students and two older band members are taking advantage of the programs at the nine-hole course this year.
“The goal is training on equipment and services working with the public,” said Mr. Burgess.
Workers are in charge of managing the entire grounds which includes driving the tractors, cutting the grass, watering and reseeding, maintaining all the equipment and repairing sprinklers.
One of the high school students hired for the summer Clint Sam, 15, typically does work puling weeds and tending to the grass.
“It’s hard work but the weathers nice and it’s much better than most jobs,” said Clint.
Another high school worker Levi Prince, 15, likes working at the golf course because the job entitles them to do a variety of different things.
“We dig holes, we weed whack and we change the sprinklers. There’s a new problem here every day and were here to fix it,” said Levi.
At the beginning of the summer, Jeff Boschman 15, began work at the golf course before anyone else. After working long hours and showing ambition, Mr. Burgess titled him sub foreman and has taken on the task of managing all the outdoor guys.
“It’s hot out here but it’s good. I like the outside, plus we get free golf,” said Jeff.