Feature City Hall Stories

Camp fYrefly is a four-day leadership retreat for LGBTQ youth

Photo1 ThumbnailCamp fYrefly is Canada's first and only leadership retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning and allied youth.

The residential overnight camp took place July 9 to 12 at Girl Guides Camp Jubilee across the Bow River from Cochrane. With 44 youth ranging in ages from 14 to 22 years, six to eight campers were grouped into seven pods, with two youth leaders, one adult mentor for those leaders and a counsellor.

With the bullying and issues that the LGBT community faces, often times their teenage years can be a lot more challenging. By the time they reach their twenties, sometimes they can still be figuring things out. Discovering yourself takes time, and it is normal if it changes over the years. What Camp fYrefly does is try to equalize everybody in a safe location and say, "You are perfect the way you are, here are some ways you can start dealing with the things in your life."

Camp fYrefly is about fostering, youth, resiliency, energy, fun and leadership. The "Y" is emphasised to highlight the significant role of youth in the camp. The camp's philosophy revolves around a youth-for-youth approach, but the camp co-ordinators note that there is so much more to the four-day youth retreat that the seven letter acronym.

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Mobile yoga company helps brides deal with wedding season

Bridesyoga copyInnergy Corporate Yoga is a company that focuses on making yoga more accessible by bringing their knowledge and experiences to businesses.

Beginning in Vancouver, B.C., in 2004, Innergy has expanded into Alberta. What started as a mobile yoga studio has grown into a business that is known for holding group classes in a corporate setting, in addition to private sessions at home or at work. The company recently expanded to showcase movements at conventions, laughter workshops and is now taking aim at bridal parties.

Heather Johnson, who oversees Innergy Corporate Yoga in Alberta, says more people seem to be joining fitness classes with friends, sparking the idea of bridal yoga.

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The Catholic Church gives approval for homosexual individuals as long as they remain abstinent.

thumb BrowerThe Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary's program Courage & Encourage Apostolate offers to help men and women "live in accordance" with the church's "teaching on homosexuality." That means being abstinent.

However, a local sociologist and former program leader says that approach is problematic and very different from how the Calgary Wildrose United Church supports members of the gay community.

The Courage program is for "same-sex-attracted people" who are very connected to the Church and feel incompatible with who they are as Catholic Christians. According to the program's website, by providing a "very safe and caring environment" group members meet and share experiences about living "with a same-sex attraction struggle."

"What they might do with their attraction is what will make them feel distant to God," says the diocese's director Michael Soentgerath.

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The answer may lie in nurture versus nature debate.

thumb Andrea-HarlingSome of Calgary's top restaurants have few female executive chefs, a fact that may be due to working long hours and wanting a family if not outright discrimination, according to female chefs at other restaurants.

The discrepancy between genders in the restaurant industry starts early. For example, at SAIT's culinary school Rupert Kaupp, the academic chair of professional cooking, says 40 per cent of students are female, while 60 per cent of students in the hospitality program are also female. Though Kaupp says in the coming year, numbers are expected to be 50 per cent for both genders.

Nevertheless, in some Calgary restaurants a gender imbalance appears to remain. In the top 10 Calgary restaurants listed by Avenue Magazine in 2014, only one restaurant had a female executive chef: Brava Bistro, home to Andrea Harling. The 2015 list doesn't include any female executive chefs although a few restaurants are owned by women, such as Blink (Leslie Echino) and Il Sogno (Patricia Koyaich).

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