Community Engagement

The Faculty of Education is committed to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge about teaching and learning, and this commitment to education extends far beyond the borders of our campus. Our faculty members, students and staff are leaders and active participants in a variety of community engagement initiatives at the provincial, national, and international levels.

For example, Camp fYrefly is the only leadership retreat for sexual and gender minority youth in Canada and the only camp of its kind to be operated by a major research university in the world. Part of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) in the Faculty of Education, Camp fYrefly was founded in Edmonton by Drs. André P. Grace and Kristopher Wells in 2004. Today it is offered annually in Edmonton, Calgary and alternating locations in Saskatchewan. Since 2004, more than 1,000 youth have attended Camp fYrefly.

iSMSS also offers a spin-off program called fYrefly in Schools that presents free workshops to junior and senior high schools in Calgary and Edmonton. Since 2011, more than 5,000 Edmonton students have participated in workshops offered by fYrefly in Schools.

The Comprehensive Health Education Workers’ (CHEW) Project, which began in fall 2014, is another community-based initiative operating out of iSMSS. Its core function within iSMSS’s intervention and outreach work is to develop and deliver research-informed, age-appropriate, and non-judgmental comprehensive health education for sexual and gender minority youth.

Now in its seventh year and with a new name, the Young Indigenous Women's Circle of Leadership (YIWCL) program is for young Aboriginal women aged 10-16. Each day, participants are immersed in Indigenous language and cultural activities, drama, dance, digital technologies, and leadership building. View highlights from the 2015 YIWCL summer camp in this video.