Yukon Women in Mining wants to raise the profile of mining as a vibrant career option, especially for Yukon women and youth. To do that in May they launched the Experiential Extravaganza in three Yukon communities.
Over 30 representatives from 20 companies built a travelling exploration camp in Pelly Crossing, Faro and Dawson City to host activities unique to projects active in the area.
“Activities have to be dynamic and engage all ages to connect with the mining industry,” says Lewis, chair and founder of Yukon Women in Mining.
“It was the most unique professional experience I’ve ever had,” she adds.
In Pelly Crossing, 200 school kids moved earth, smashed geodes and tested pH levels in water. That evening, Casino Mining Corporation hosted a community barbecue which drew in approximately 100 people.
“It was great to hear stories about ‘my uncle who used to work at Minto’ or ‘my kid’ who does now,” says Lewis.
The Faro camp featured such artisanal opportunities in mining as jewellery-making and soapstone carving workshops.
“One girl talked to every woman there,” Lewis says. “She was so keen to know about their experiences, the opportunities, and chances for advancement.”
Lastly, they arrived in Dawson City for the International Gold Show. It rained constantly, so Casino Mine donated ponchos.
“All these kids from Robert Service School in bright green ponchos were running from tent to tent to do the activities,” Lewis recalls. “Kids brought their parents back on Saturday.”
Yukon Women in Mining also distributed Mining Matters teacher kits from the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and trained teachers on how to use the resources and activities to inject local content into the curricula throughout the school year.
This is key for Lewis and why she founded the Yukon chapter of Women in Mining in 2012.
“I’m a born and raised Yukoner and at no point in my 12 years at school was mining mentioned as a possible career,” she says. “My parents worked in reclamation, my grandfather in tin mining and there’s this huge history that’s not in our schools.”
Lewis talked to representatives of International Women in Mining and recruited a group of founding directors. Project Coordinator Bonnie Dixon was among them.
“Women need to understand the opportunities in mining,” says Dixon. “There’s lots to do in this industry and potential to succeed.”
Coming in September and October, Yukon Women in Mining is hosting a speaker series of four breakfast talks, to culminate at the Yukon Geoscience Forum in November.
The chapter continues to develop their Champions program, establishing a network of Yukon mentors, trailblazers and role models for women looking to enter the industry.
“Eira Thomas is a good example of a Yukon mining champion,” says Lewis of the former president and CEO of Kaminak Gold Corporation.
Thomas has hit pay dirt four times and is known in the industry as Canada’s “Queen of Diamonds.”
As part of Women in Mining Canada’s Ramp-Up initiative, Yukon Women in Mining is producing a series of short videos to help industry overcome barriers such as awareness of job potential and variety that the sector offers.
“We want Yukon women and youth to see mining offers a way to stay and play in the territory for life,” says Lewis.
For more information about Yukon Women in Mining visit www.YukonWIM.ca.