Measurements & Testimonials

OLI 2016 Youth Survey Results (68 responses)

Question: Since being in OLI, how has it impacted the relationships in your life?


Question: Since being in OLI, how has it impacted you?


Question: Since being in OLI, how has it affected your performance at school?


OLI 2015 Youth Survey Results

43 Youth surveyed (these youth made it to perform in Toronto)

  • 97%  said OLI helped improve their grades in all of their classes.
  • 97% said OLI helped them focus on their school work.
  • 100% said the OLI program motivated or inspired them to maintain/improve their performance at school.
  • 92% said OLI maintained or improved their attendance at school.
  • 97% said that since being in OLI, they made an improved effort to arrive to school/classes on time.
  • 87% said OLI helped improve their relationships with their family.
  • 95% said OLI helped improve their relationships with peers.
  • 100% said they have gained more self-confidence in themselves and abilities.
  • 92% said they learned more about themselves since being in OLI.
  • 100% said they learned more about their level of commitment and perseverance since being in OLI.
  • 87% said OLI helped them discover something about themselves they didn’t know before.
  • 95% said since being in OLI their attitude/behaviour has changed for the better.
  • 100% said their physical health has improved since being in OLI.
  • 92% said their emotional/mental health has improved since being in OLI.
  • 95% said they feel healthier because they improved their food and beverage consumption habits.
  • 90% said OLI has helped them develop leadership skills.

Download the 2014-2015 OLI Volunteer Survey Feedback Report


ValTraceeplaqueTracee Smith (left) with Valerie Hoy (right) receiving the Volunteer Champion award at the 8th Annual OLI VIP Reception and Performance

“I have been a teacher volunteer for the OLI program for 4 years. I had not planned on being a volunteer this past year until my students approached and asked me to help them get the program back. However, before I agreed I wanted to hear from them why they wanted the program back. They said things like “ I want to see my friends from the other communities again”; “I love to dance”; but it wasn’t until they started to identify the real underlining reasons that I knew would happen but you cannot measure or see until they start Looking In, then they start saying “this program makes me accountable and makes me want to go to school”; “I want to make it this year to the end and reach a dream of mine”, “it gave me confidence in myself”; “gives me something physical to do and made me realize I can do anything” and “It makes me feel alive and want to live”… that I started to see the ripple effects from the previous years. It did make a difference for them and I then too found myself saying “yes, I will support you and be the teacher for the program if you can talk to the necessary people”. Which they did.

For myself, I realized that I have the same vision and hopes for my students as Tracee Smith the founder of the Outside Looking In program and that it complimented my own educational philosophy and my teaching style. I believe students need to have as many life experiences in and outside of the educational institutional walls we have created. This program begins in the walls and has very strict and clear expectations that the students must be willing to do in order to stay in the program. Because of the high expectations you would question why, but many of the students surprise you by rising to the challenge and taking responsibility for their education. Isn’t that what we all want for our students? Culture in our community is strong and we all strive to keep ourselves balanced, physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually and this program in the end does this. I see have been witness to the physical portion through the choreography, intellectually in them caring about their academics and studies, emotionally grow stronger when they leave the community to go the city – some away from home for the first time, and spiritually through the collaboration and bonds created in uniting the different first nations communities for a single project – the big show in Toronto.

This program is great but it is takes a lot of work for me the teacher, students and parents. It requires time, patience, energy, enthusiasm and a belief that all can do it. The paper work gets easier once you get a system going which, I realized this year. The part I hate the most is when students’ chose not to keep up with the expectations of the program. Even though I know it is up to them I still feel a sense of loss and wonder what I could have done to help them. But in the end it is those students who truly wanted it… make it to the stage. Pride in all their accomplishments and me seeing them grow as leaders of our community.” Valerie Hoy, Teacher/Volunteer, Wikwemikong, ON


Adamcloseup“I joined OLI because I it helped me get my credits and keep me on track and on time for my classes. I’ve learned perseverance, determination and discipline from this program. I learned that I am a good person and a best friend and that I’m strong. OLI has contributed in shaping my personality by showing me what I am capable of doing and it will keep contributing to my personal life because it does show you that you can’t be shy and have socialize with other communities and your group to have that connection with others.” – Adam, Wikwemikong




“I joined OLI again this year because 2 years ago when I joined it helped me as a person to find who I am and what my limits are. I learned how to work with a team more and improved on my patience in working with new people. I learned and built on how to solve conflicts with myself and other people. OLI helped shape me as a person by helping me find these things within myself.” Matthew, Wikwemikong




OLI 2015-1667“The main reason I joined OLI is because the first time I went I had the time of my life. What it taught me is to take every opportunity that comes your way even if its small it can lead you to bigger and better things. I saw shy people become social butterflies, a bunch of rez kids be inspired to follow their dreams and me being one of them.” Cody, Wikwemikong





OLI 2015-1659“I can’t even begin to describe how amazing OLI was, there are honestly no words to describe this amazing experience. It truly was one of a kind. I believe OLI has changed me in so many ways. I think it made me into a better person. I’m also way more happy now than I was before I started OLI. This program has opened my eyes and I’m so incredibly thankful I had this opportunity. I’m now looking at everything with a different perspective. I’m making sure I’m doing the right things for the right reasons. When you’re at camp its so surreal, it felt like heaven. When you’re there, you realize that these people here are now your family for 2 weeks. You become so close in such a small amount of time, its unbelievable and I truly believe you cannot get this experience anywhere else. This experience was exhilarating performing at the Sony Centre with everybody, was just, wow. I could probably write forever about OLI and how it made me into a better person and how it helped me realize a lot of things.” Aurora, Wikwemikong



Logancloseup4“It was the best program ever! OLI has changed me. I used to not talk to others, I made a lot of friends over there. My confidence is better because of OLI, I miss it so much! Everyone is so nice over there. Everyone cried at the end of camp, at our performance in Toronto. OLI is the best, I am going to try my best next year.” Logan, St. Theresa Point MB





Dreddsmilingcloseup“It helped me do more exercise. OLI is really good for kids. OLI helped me stay focused on my work and try hard. It made me have fun and I want to try hard next year. I made lots of friends and Tim Horton’s camp was very awesome. I know I did really good, my parents are proud parents and I thank them. And I love OLI. I got high marks when you guys came.” Dredd, Garden Hill FN, MB




Brandoncloseup2“Reasons, many reasons, why I joined OLI. For the fun of it, taking chances or maybe something to get away from the family. Learning that school can take you places around the world is fascinating. I never knew I could dance, my listening skills have seemed to improve well and also I was never good around girls. Since OLI came to me, to the community, I have realized that “the harder you try, the more you will fly” and that is the motto I will live by.” Bradley, St. Theresa Point FN, MB




AdelaideSTP“I feel so amazing about the OLI program. I joined because I really wanted to go to Toronto, I never went there before. I want to join again when they come back. I was the best thing in my lie, I love OLI so much. I had so much fun and I’m happy.” Adelaide, St. Theresa Point First Nation, MB





OLI 2015-2139“The OLI Program was something I didn’t expect, the program was really something. At first, I didn’t really know what the program was about, but when I could that it’s a program that reaches you how to dance, I was just surprised and excited. Dancing is one of my favourite things to do with my life. I joined OLI because it brings youth together and to know each other. What I learned from OLI is you learn how to stand up for yourself, and never have to be scared to go in front of a lot of people. What I learned for myself is O was never afraid to speak out for myself, that I had courage to stand out to a bunch of people. I thank everyone that made this possible.” Trevor, St. Theresa Point FN, MB




Elyssa2STPhigh“I had a very good experience at the camp and the trip to Toronto. That was the best 2 weeks of my life, and everything about it. It was perfect. I had a good time making friends too. Next year I hope I can experience this again, and I hope I get to see my friends and make new friends next year.” Elyssa, St. Theresa Point FN, MB





CheyanneSTPhigh“Why I joined OLI is because it looked like a fun program. Most of my friends were joining and I wanted to learn how to dance. What I learned form the program is that every dancer counts. What I learned about myself is that I’m god at dancing. Before OLI came around I’ve never danced at all. How I think OLi will contribute to shape me as a person in the future is that I’ll be really talkative and to achieve all of my goals.” Cheyanne, St. Theresa Point First Nation, MB





“Since the OLI program came to our school, I’ve been more active. OLI has really changed my life. All I want to do is dance now. I eat healthier than before. From the beginning, I was shy to do things like that, now look at me, I’m talking to everybody and making new friends. I can’t wait to go again next year! And someday I want to be a choreographer. I’m glad that I was one of the students that went to Toronto to experience what it was like to perform on the biggest stage in Canada. Mostly I want to thank the OLI program for coming to our community and showing us our next goal in life!” Unknown, St. Theresa Point First Nation, MB


Brandoncloseup“OLI has made me a better person. Performing on stage was a great experience. I joined OLI because it was an opportunity for me to express how I feel about dancing. Dancing to me it’s a gateway to happiness, joy and fun. OLI has helped me improve in school. I have learned that it is okay to dance the way you want, how you want and when you want. OLi had a big impact on my life. It has helped me in school and out of school. In the future, I will look back and fill my self with pride and confidence. I hope I can go to the THCF camp next year to go and meet old friends and meet new friends. In conclusion, OLI has helped me push myself in school. I t has helped me in so many ways.” Gabriel, St. Theresa Point FN, MB




“OLI has helped me improve my grades. I’ve learned that OLI has helped me feel more confident about myself. I’m looking forward to OLI in September. I’ve learned about how important my attendance is. I was never into dancing until OLI. OLI gave me an amazing school year.” unknown, St. Theresa Point FN, MB


Preston Mason“I joined LI because I wanted to learn how to dance, and because my friends joined. In OLI I learned how to dance, and being cooperative with others with the choreography. I’ve learned that I can push myself even harder, I can help others and I can dance.” Preston, St. Theresa Point FN, MB







Katericloseup“I joined OLI because I like to dance and its an activity to do, and because you get to see new things and meet new people. I learned from OLI that the program is trying to make us healthier and have fun, and make at least one of our dreams come true and it will help us with our future. I earned about myself, I’ve become healthier and I changed my behavioiur a bit and I learned I like to dance. I never noticed that I love dancing so much so I dance every single day now and I’ve become closer to my friends. In the future I think I’m going to be a dance, a marathon runner and a teacher because of OLI. I’m setting goals for my future and hopefully it will come true. I have a lot of dreams of what I want to be in the future but next I know I’m going to try hard to be in OLI again and will help the little ones too.” Kateri, St. Theresa Point FN, MB



Joshcloseup“I joined OLI because its fun, it helped me stay in school. I was really happy when they picked me to go to Toronto. People said it was tiring but it made me be stronger and healthier. I really like to dance, I didn’t even know how to dance before that why I joined OLI. OLI was so exciting and it was really hard but it really paid off in the end. I wanted to meet new people too, and made friends rom other communities.” Josh, St. Theresa Point FN, MB




Michaelcloseup2“I joined OLI because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I had really bad anxiety and I thought joining the OLI program would help me with my mental health. I earned I could be a good leader just by being the best I could be. The OLI program helped me remember how much I love the hip-hop culture. I believe OLI gave me a chance to become who I want to be.” Michael, Wikwemikong, ON




Adriancloseup“I joined OLI because I wanted to dance on stage, it was an awesome feeling. Joining it for a second time showed the program would really help me with my future because it shows you have commitment to finish something. Being in OLI I didn’t really realize much of myself, but I take better care of myself, I am more respectful for the people around me and things around me. OLI can help me in the future because I know I can do a lot more outside of my community and still be successful. I feel I have accomplished a lot in school with all my work and out in the community.” Adrian,Wikwemikong




OLI 2015-2171“I joined OLI because I wanted to perform in Toronto before I graduate from High School. I’ve had really great experiences with the years we joined OLI. I’ve met so many different people from different communities and they were very talented amazing kids. The show gets bigger and better every year. This year I was dancing on stage with the Wiky crew and I really enjoyed the experience. I’m excited to see where OLI goes in the future. I’ve learned that I can over come more obstacles and challenges that come my way. I can handle more dancing each year. Keeping up with your fitness is key! I am much more confident in myself and my abilities to keep moving forward. I didn’t know what I was capable of. OLI has made me want to try new things and better myself.” Tye, Lac La Croix



Brigittecloseup2“I joined OLI because I had a great experience the last time we were in OLI. The experience changed me for the better when I first joined. I wasn’t as shy and I finally spoke up for myself. I also met so many great people and I got really close to them. I was excited to reunite with old friends and make new ones. Also I love dancing and I wanted to be able to dance on stage again. I love the feeling I get when I step out on the stage, dancing for my family. During the program, I learned that this program is not easy at all, even when we go to camp. People think that all we do is “just” dance. For me, I waned to be in the OLI Challenge again, so that meant not missing school or being late, which was difficult. I had to keep up with my work and the dancing. When I heard Tracee say that one quote about being a leader and that it make you tired I thought, “Yes! Exactly”. But of course, in the end, everything is worth it. What I learned about myself is, I can take alot of of stress and I can push myself to dance better and work harder. Last year, I wasn’t a strong dancer, but now, I’m one of the strongest. I went from being the quiet one to group leader and I didn’t think I would ever be one. Also at camp, I was not only helping my group, but another community because they were having a hard time. I definitely amazed myself this year. I think OLI will help shape me in the future by giving me that extra boost of confidence to achieve the goals that I want to achieve. I’ll have the motivation to keep going as I did in OLI. I look forward to new experiences coming my way!” Brigitte N., Wikwemikong


Ericcloseup2“I learned to dance and be more committed to doing what needs to be done, on time, and what I could do anything I set my mind to, positively. If I join the program again, I think it would improve my leadership skills, through the Future Leaders Program, and help me a lot with schooling and being more open with new people.” Eric, Wikwemikong





Edwincloseupx“When I first heard about OLI I think I was in grade 7. I thought it was cool and I was looking forward to high school to join. OLI got me on schedule to get stuff done. I joined OLI because I knew it would keep me in shape and help me with my education. I heard that I would be able to meet new people. I thought it would get me out of comfort zone. It has got me out of my comfort zone at the camp. What kept me going was knowing I would be apart o a big show and to make people happy while watching. I wanted to have as much fun as the last time I went. I accomplished a lot while being in this program by doing what I wasn’t able to do before fitness wise by the number of push ups and sit ups.” Edwin, Wikwemikong




Brookecloseup“I learned from this program is that they don’t mess around and that this show and program means a lot. I learned about myself is that I’m a strong, unique person after what I’ve been through as a kid growing up. It was hard but now I know I’m a strong girl. In the future I’m going to be more focussed and determined to achieve my goals and work hard to get the job I wanted since I was a young girl.” Brooke, Wikwemikong




TessaAndre'sbraids“Why I joined OLI is because all my friends who went before told me how much fun it is and I also wanted to meet more new people form all over. What I learned was if I really push myself hard enough I can reach my goal and succeed. In the future, I think OLI will motivate myself to challenge myself a lot more and also to get into more activities. I also feel that it will make more physically fit. I hope I can also do the Future Leaders program because it another challenge I want to do because its twice as extreme the regular program.” Andre, Wikwemikong




Dehminmirror5“I heard of OLI when I was in grade 7, my friend Cody was performing at his school and I thought I would go watch him. I thought it was pretty cool. When I got into grade 9 I forgot all about OLI so when I heard I was put in the class I was pretty excited to get to class. When I was in class and heard how much work it was I started to get less confident and self-conscious of how I looked. When I danced I was always sitting down on the tables and I started to get frustrated because it was hard for me to hear n the dance and I was thinking that I want to get a different class but Aurora said how much better I will feel about myself when I accomplish this and I thought about it and decided to stay. I worked really hard to get my work done and to learn the dance. When I got to camp I was proud on how far I’ve gone and I knew I wasn’t done. SO I worked hard o get to the end and fought through the home sickness and my sore throat and when I finished I just felt so happy I can’t explain it.” Dehmin, Wikwemikong




Raynacrop“OLI helped me improve my behaviour. It helped me have more confidence about myself. While I was at camp I could express myself and be me. At the beginning I was a really shy person and I never really spoke. After I joined OLI I began to be myself and have confidence. I”ve done all of my work and attended my classes regularly. I am still a very shy person although I am still a little flower bud waiting to bloom. AT the end of the dance program, I’ve seen I”ve become a different person. There is a whole difference this program does other than just teach you how to dance. It was our choice to go and attend every rehearsal and practice. The OLI program taught us we all can do things together, we can all be friends, we all have our specialities and dancing can be one of them. We all can have confidence and we can do what we want but there are there you need to do it.” Rayna, Garden Hill FN, MB



Trentoncloseup“I joined OLI because I thought it would be a fun experience and I like to dance, I wanted to learn more dancing and I wanted to learn about what OLI is and how it helped the youth. I joined OLI because I wanted to go to camp and wanted to have a chance to dance and perform on Canada’s biggest stage. The program has taught me all O wanted to know. It has helped me get a better understanding of myself and my friends. I learned how to be physically healthy, to be mentally prepared for any situation, and to be confident in everything I do because of OLI.I have learned I am a good dancer, being told by other people. OLI has shaped me into the person I am. OLI has helped me to overcome my problems, to have faith in others and to always have fun dancing. OLI has taught me to always find good things in lie. I really do hope that the program comes back next year. I had so much fun at camp, Toronto and the Sony Centre. Thank you so much to Cathy for bringing OLI to Garden Hill, thank you to Queenie for teaching us how to dance. Thank you to Tracee for making such a wonderful program and for everything OLI has taught us.” Trenton, Garden Hill First Nation, MB


JP Nattaway“I joined the OLI program to have the experience of dancing in front of people, because I love dancing and to get a chance to make new friends. I learned that dancing could keep your mind off negative things and help you improve your stamina. OLI helped me get more active and I’ve noticed that I was more energetic. Before OLI came, I was always lazy and always drank pop all day at home. I’ve noticed I’ve went for more walks and jogs. Even when I get kind of bored, I would just dance. I dance almost everyday. All of these memories from OLI is amazing. I’ve been thinking alot about OLI, I miss OLI so much. I’m just hoping OLI returns next year!” JP Nattaway, Garden HIll; First Nation, MB






OLI 2015-2137“OLI has helped me improve my grades in school and to come to school on time so I could be in OLI. When I was done the OLI program I told my family all kinds of things I did. The first time I went to OLI I didn’t know anybody but through the year I got to know the people I was dancing with. I joined OLI because I like to dance and I wanted to try something new so I could make new friends which I did. Ever since OLI my favourite thing to do is dance and I dance anywhere. I tried my best at dancing and being at every rehearsal and do my best in school. I’m really glad I joined OLI and met these people in OLI.” Vallee, Garden Hill First Nation








May 25, 2016 OLI survey of 68 youth


  1. Since being in OLI, how has it affected your performance at school?
Response Count
Grades have improved 56 82.4%  
Attendance has improved 50 73.5%  
More focused on school work 58 85.3%  
More aware of own performance in school 42 61.8%  
Improved effort to arrive on time 47 69.1%  
Feeling motivated and energized overall 44 64.7%  
More willing to ask for help or talk to others 42 61.8%  
More pride in your school work 46 67.6%  
  Total: 68


  1. Since being in OLI, how has it impacted the relationships in your life?
Response Count
Felt supported by your teachers 39 57.4%  
Felt supported by your community 44 64.7%  
Improved relationships with your family 38 55.9%  
Made new friends 66 97.1%  
Get along better with your peers/classmates 54 79.4%  
Feeling like you are part of a group 58 85.3%  
Reconnected with old friends 37 54.4%  
More confident talking to people 55 80.9%  
  Total: 68


  1. Since being in OLI, how has it impacted you?

Half Move Edit Add Text    

Response Count
Work better in a team 47 69.1%  
Feel better about yourself 62 91.2%  
Physically stronger or more fit 57 83.8%  
More confident in your abilities 50 73.5%  
Decreased negative attitudes/behaviours 50 73.5%  
Increased perseverance 30 44.1%  
Increased level of commitment 44 64.7%  
Found out something new about yourself 53 77.9%  
Developed leadership skills 40 58.8%  
Changed your eating and drinking habits 46 67.6%  
  Total: 68



Ceejay Kelly – Onigaming First Nation

ceejay-kellyI had so much fun in Toronto, over the passed couple weeks! I really enjoyed it. Meeting new people, becoming really good friends with them, doing lots of activities, and performing on stage! I really hope we can do it again next year!

Lance Geyshick – Lac La Croix First Nation

lance-geyshickBack in Lac La Croix. Having this feeling like somethings missing. I miss everyone else from the other communities. The 2 weeks went by so fast D: this year was the best 😀

Henry Geyshick – Lac La Croix First Nation

henry-geyshickJust got back from my trip, i had a total blast in toronto and now im happy to be home again but i miss all of oli youth already. ):

Lorralene Whiteye – Onigaming First Nation

lorralene-whiteyeEvery emotion I’m feeling right now is so hard to put into words… This opportunity was just so amazing, and I had so much fun dancing last night! eeek! Lol I jut keep running it through my mind, it’s so hard to believe, but we did it (:

Faith Robinson – Nisga’a Nation

faithFavorite Part? The Whole Time I Was There. . .No Words To Explain Just How Amazing Everything Was, But If I Had To Choose. I’d Say Meeting And Befriending Everyone, The Only Hard Part Was Saying Goodbye . . . But I Know I Will See Them Again 🙂

Jessica Atatise – Lac La Croix First Nation

jessica-atatiseMy favorite part of the OLI 2012 experience was the rehearsals at the Parry Sound camp. It was amazing to watch everyone come together. That must have been the most gruelling practice I have ever seen in my 3 years of OLI. I wasn’t even part of it. Nonetheless, to watch it was beyond amazing. The dancers were having such a hard time trying to do the circle pyramid. There were tears shed, bodies bruised, people on the brink of giving up, they were frustrated, and lashing out. But they kept going at it. I almost cried just watching their dedication. In order to acheive the circle pyramid, they had to work together as a group, count with each other, and trust each other to not let another fall from the pyramid. That was the most dynamic group effort I have been able to witness. I can still hear Karen’s speech that calmed down the dancers and helped center them. “Okay, I want everyone to close their eyes for me. Just breathe. Envision exactly what you are going to do to get to your spot in the pyramid. Think of the exact steps you are going to take to get there. Just breathe. Open your eyes. Now do it. Count together. 5-6-7-8!” I can still hear everyone counting together, “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8!” and then followed by the victorious uproar of clapping and cheering. The expressions on everyone’s faces was priceless. It was of pure pride and joy. Only in OLI can you witness something like this. Youth from various communities across Canada coming together to acheive something great, through hard work.

Kodi Trudeau – Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve

kodi-trudeauThere is no such thing as a favorite part of an OLI trip to me. After looking back on all the memories I’ve made, the friends I’ve met, the emotions I’ve shared, the values I passed on, the dedication, persistence, commitment, hardships, and practices we all went through I’ve come to realize that just being able to be involved in an event like this is enough to grateful for. The fact that it happens annually gives newborn friendships a brighter horizon as each community hopes that they can participate in the following year. So, in a nutshell, my favorite part is the Outside Looking In experience!

Stefanie Haldane – Nisga’a Nation

stefanieThe OLI program and trip was the best experience of my life! My favorite part was being pushed to move further, pushed to move together, and pushed to be better. Through out the program I stepped out more as an individual and team player. I gained a bigger and better perspective, and i’ve learned more about leadership, and teamwork. This program has given me more strength, confidence, faith, and more hope. I enjoyed meeting new people, making new friends, and learning about other places and Nations. Some of the things i’ve witnessed and was a part of I can’t explain, it’s that amazing. I hope to attend OLI again. I started this program confused, scared, and unaware of what I was in store for. I came out feeling like the happiest and strongest person in the world.

John Geyshick – Lac La Croix First Nation

john-geyshickThe Outside Looking In experience should be the favourite part. I’m not a writer but we did go through alot during those past 2 weeks. We worked during every practice, helping our peers when they needed us. We made friends, who became family to us.(thats one reason we didn’t want to go our separate ways) We went too Canada’s Wonderland, We had so many choices but so little time…..we all had fun thats all that matters. The OLI experience is what got me to where I am right now. I graduated High school, now I’m looking for a college. I made it as an OLI Future Leader, I could’ve been an OLI challenge but its all in the past now.(I don’t know what happened, I had good marks and attendance) This is a once in a lifetime experience, I proud of everyone who made it. I feel like an old man when I say that 😛

Kailee Kelly – Onigaming First Nation

kailee-kellyEvery morning i think and wait for the “GOOD MORNING LADIES! TIME TO GET UP!” gosh i miss being at the camp and waking up to everybody. I feel i have a huge part of me missing. OLI is the best experience of my life! ♥

Kurri Kwill and Alex Quill – Pikangikum First Nation

kwillOLI taught me not to be afraid going on stage anymore, thats the most important thing that OLI changed me, it also got me to be more confident, like I don’t usually speak English that much, but it sure got me to speak it in front of friends…when I first speak English in front of people, I was more shy, and got me nervous, but everytime we had that thing where we will watch that one person whose practicing hard, and doing good, it started to get me that I’m not afraid to speak it anymore, so OLI got me to speak my second language more often, Thanks OLI, and Thanks Tracee, for picking Pikangikum to be part of OLI.. :) :):):):).. – Kurri Kwill

Hey Tracee, I just wanna tell you that I am forever grateful for having pik in OLI,everything you did for us not only changed my life and improved things with my life,but OLI bought me closer to my family,I hope to see you again next year,hopefully Pik will be in OLI again for the June 2011 show,what would be more cool is if Lac la croix were in the show this year,that’d be more awesome!! anyways I hope you know that i will always remember you,as a teacher and a friend,you gave me hope when i needed it. – Alex Quill

Ashlay Roni-Lyn – Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve

ronilynOutside Looking In! What an amazing experience, the highlight of my summer so far ! ♥ Kay so, we started this program in jan., and I was so excited for it. I remember my first practice, I got so frustrated learning the moves, but Charlene noticed me as one of the dancers who actually got the moves right. That gave me some confidence. Before I joined this program, I skipped school all the time, I never did my home work. And my grades sucked ! … Since I joined this program, my average went from 23.3 to a 84.8, which was my finishing average over all … which Im very proud of myself. OLI kept me motivated to stay in school all year, well from the point where we started. It helped me learn that I can actually do something so amazing even if it takes alot of hard work. My school didnt finish early, so us WIKY OLI’ers, had to get all our summatives, works and exams done 2 weeks before everyone else did, and believe in me, it wasnt easy! Plus going to every practise/rehearsal, and what not, was all very time consuming. OLI took over my social life during the school year. But I believe it made me a stronger person, and I am very happy that I had this expierence, and I am willing to do it again. The 2 weeks in Toronto was awesome ! lol.. ” Awesome! ” .. I met so many new people, we bonded, had laughs and got to know each other a bit more. I seen and hung out with some very professional dancers, which was an honor for me! I loved watching them practise and they inspired me. OLI gave me confidence to dance anywhere and everywhere… Whenever I hear music, I just pop, lock n drop it, bust it out, and dance. lol, I love to dance anywhere, and I dont care what people think no more. I now know I can do whatever I want, as long as I try and put my heart into it, like what I did with OLI. As a challenge winner, I felt just a bit stronger and happier about myself in dance. I felt like a champion! … and OMG performing on stage ! Wow .. did I ever love it ! , I loved being on stage, hearing the crowd cheering, screaming out our names, smiling, and everything ! … I felt their energy when I was up on that stage, made me feel that much more better performing.. I loved every minute of it ! ♥ … After the show, I cried so much. I didnt want to leave. It left me with amazing memories, and it got me more excited to pursue my dance career. I always dreamed of dancing in music videos for the best people, teaching dance to kids who want to learn, I just love it.. Speaking of teaching ! I was chosen by Tracee that I got to teach kids at the National Ballet School in, which was so much fun !! .. The kids there were so cute, funny, outgoing and awesome. They made me smile, they made me laugh and they loved me ! :) /…. I taught them part of my routine that Chi Chi tought us Wiky OLI’ers… most of them caught on quick, and I felt so successful ! … I felt awesome, my heart was touched when I seen them learning something that I taught ! :) … It was just awesome. I look at this experience, as an early start in my career ♥ … I thank Tracee and everyone else that helped make this experience so awesome for all of us ! .. and I would definitely do it again ;) Over all, OLI has changed who I am as a person, and positively changed me in all these other ways as well… The goal for OLI that I remember Tracee saying was, Outside Looking In is to open the eyes for all aboriginal youth, to know they can go to school everyday and look forward to doing something with their education and life and let them know that they can do anything they put their eart too. Wellll Tracee, OLI has reached its goal for me ♥

Jennilee Turtle – Pikangikum First Nation

turtleThe Outside Looking In experience taught me to keep striving for what I believe in and that you can achieve your dreams/goals by trying. Before OLI was introduced in Pikangikum, I was awkwardly shy because I wasn’t use to talking to different people except for the teachers. When I came back from Toronto, I noticed a HUGE difference with myself. I have gained self-confidence and leadership skills. I started talking to the other students the way I do with my friends, over the past year, I have made peace with everyone. On June 10th, I graduated from High School along with Dinelle Quill. We hope to be apart of the OLI program as well. The Tim Horton’s camp is an awesome camp, we did all sorts of activities after our 8-hours of practice. The days went on by so fast, the next thing I knew was that the Lac La Croix youth were leaving to go home. I almost overslept that morning but got up on time to give them a hug. They are very welcoming. When I performed on stage for the first time, it felt so unreal that I forgotten my steps for a second but as soon as our song came on, I put my game face on and gave everything that I got. Outside Looking In is a great program for kids/youth to express themselves. It WILL definitely change you.

Kerrie Peters – Pikangikum First Nation

kerrieWill this year was pretty hard. It taught me to never give up anything that I want. People encouaged me not to give up even if I wanted too. So i was really proud of that. Because I neve give up anything that I want but this year I almost did. OLI taught me to be Brave and not to give up any thing I want.

Well of course I wanted to do OLI again. It did help to stay in school I wanted to do the best in my attendance in OLI and my classes. I was happy because my friends and Conlie did Oli and that meant alot to me.

The performance was alot of fun but I was kind of scared because I could see people in front of me watch us. It was kind of funny because Tracee was counting on the other side.

After the performance I was crying because i knew it was my last. But I did accomplished it I was proud of myself what I had gone through in my life.

I’m going to miss you Tracee

Conlie Peters – Pikangikum First Nation

conlieI had a great time in toronto with you guys and I hope we’ll get to do it again and I had a amazing experience, I just can’t explain the feeling I had over there. it totally changed my life and I’m doing great in school and 2 more years in high school and I’m done and I hope there’s going to be oli this year in Pik.oli taught me to become a better person and it made me to respct people and made new awesome friends. I didn’t that they were awesome things in life and makes things happier and better things and making choices.

OLI helped me to pass all my classes and makes me want to do it again and it helps us to get an education. In toronto was very fun and cool and no one would never for get how much fun we had in Toronto and it helps us to meet other people and which is soo awesome. To perform in front of people is the greatest thing at ever happen to me and it made me to become a outstanding person…