This profile is one of fifteen stories examining youth involvement in community economic development (CED). The profiles have been produced as part of the Canadian CED Network's efforts to encourage effective practices in youth leadership and engagement to enhance the social and economic conditions of Canada's communities.
Bamfield is a small, remote west coast village that is accessible only by water or by a long logging road from Port Alberni. A hundred years ago Bamfield was the location for the pan-Pacific telegraph cable and twenty years ago it was a thriving fishing village. Today only one fishing family exists in the village and the timber industry has largely collapsed. Linda Myres writes, "The Huu Ay Aht First Nation has resided in the region for over 10,000 years. With the advent of European exploration and trade, the two cultures have lived side by side for more than 100 years. Culturally, the Huu Ay Aht demonstrate life long learning in traditional and informal venues. The Huu Ay Aht traditional economy is rooted in harvesting marine life. The settlers also harvested from the sea.
In the 21st century, new models of economy and society are developing. The fishers and hewers of wood, who could suffice with primary education in the old economy, now require an innovative global view and technology to support continuing education, the new economy and a new lifestyle." Educational institutions have been one of the stabilizing factors in the Bamfield economy and the focus on education by the BCSA has helped this entrepreneurial community go beyond fishing and forestry to explore new sustainable opportunities for this remote west coast community. This profile highlights how the BCSA and the Huu Ay Aht First Nations' 500 citizens are working together to actively engage their youth in the process of creating a sustainable economy in a small remote community.