SMASH Retreat


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SMASH Peer Leader Retreat

Fostering Open eXpression among Youth (FOXY) and Strength, Masculinities, and Sexual Health (SMASH) are excited to announce our summer Retreat applications are now closed for youth aged 13-17 years old from the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. We have confirmed dates for two Retreats this summer:

  • June 12-20, 2023 at Frontier Lodge is a FOXY & SMASH Peer Leader Retreat, meaning youth of all genders are invited to apply.
  • July 24-August 1, 2023 at Nonacho Lodge is a FOXY Peer Leader Retreat, meaning young women and gender diverse youth are invited to apply.

If you have any questions about which Retreat is right for you or a youth in your life please contact us at  Please review all of the attached information, then submit the attached application or apply online through our Google Form application.

All expenses for participants, including travel from their home communities to Yellowknife, are covered through the generous support of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Department of Women and Gender Equality, Government of the Northwest Territories, and our other sponsors. There is no charge to any participant in the FOXY & SMASH Peer Leader Retreats.


Completed applications may be scanned and emailed to, faxed to 1-888-518-4945, or mailed to: FOXY, 5029 57th Street, Yellowknife, NT, X1A 1Y4


Applications for our 2023 Retreats are now closed.  Applications for 2024 Retreats will be available in Spring 2024.

  • At the Retreat, you will be sharing a cabin or room in the lodge with other participants.  If you have any concerns about this, or would like to make any special requests, please contact us in advance.
  • At the Retreat, smoking (cigarettes, vaping, marijuana), drinking, and drugs are strictly prohibited. Please leave these items at home so they don’t jeopardize your chance to stay at the Retreat. If you think you will need support to manage not using substances at the Retreat, please let us know in advance.
  • We will make all attempts to accommodate special medical, nutritional, and personal needs, however, due to the nature of our venue being out on the land, there may only be so much we can do.  Please be honest about your needs (especially on your health form) and we will work with you as much as possible to make sure that you have the best time at the Retreat!
  • During the days and evenings that we are spending in Yellowknife, all participants and facilitators will remain at the Retreat, as these are team-building activities that are central to the Retreat.  There will be no exceptions made.
  • During our time at the lodge, participants are not able to leave for any reason outside of an emergency. If a participant must be removed from the site for disciplinary reasons, the cost of the flight charter will be forwarded on to the participant’s family.
  • While the emphasis will not be on strenuous activity, participants should be prepared to spend time outside and engage in some moderate physical activities.  Frontier and Nonacho Lodge are internationally acclaimed fishing lodges and we experience all of these arts and activities in a beautiful outdoor environment, but our Retreats are not meant to be an outdoor adventure camp.
  • FOXY strongly discourages you from bringing your phone or device to the Retreat – we don’t have cell service anyway, and the limited wireless Internet is exclusively for the use of the lodge staff.  If you are concerned about your device getting lost or damaged, please leave it at home.  If you choose to bring your phone it will be collected at the Retreat and put in a lock box for safekeeping for the duration of the Retreat. Any other devices such as smart watches, tablets, laptops, portable video game consoles will also be placed in the lock box. We’ll be super busy anyway doing fun things, and many participants in previous years found that they enjoyed being free from their electronic devices during the Retreat.  Staff will be taking some photos that will be available for you to view after the Retreat, and you are welcome to bring your own digital camera as well if you’d like to capture your memories!

What is the Peer Leader Retreat?

The Peer Leader Retreat is an opportunity for youth from around the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon to come together and talk about the issues that affect them in their real lives – relationships, sexual health, friendships, and social issues. Since 2012 for FOXY and 2016 for SMASH, we’ve been travelling around the North doing workshops with youth, and this Retreat is an opportunity to further their knowledge and leadership. The Retreat will be nine days of working with staff on different types of creative self-expression activities, as well as the development of their own Community Project to address the needs they see within their own community and peers.

Will I be camping? Will there be showers?

Our Retreats take place at lodges where you will have a bed and access to showers. Please bring a foamie, sleeping bag, and pillow (to be packed separately) for the sleepovers we’ll be having in Yellowknife on the first and last nights of the Retreat.

Who is organizing the Retreat?

The FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) Peer Leader Retreat is organized by the co-founder and Executive Director Dr. Candice Lys and the Director of Programs, Jennifer Butler, as well as the rest of our amazing staff team!

When is it?

This year we have two confirmed Summer Retreats and the dates are as follows:

  • June 12-20, 2023 at Frontier Lodge is a FOXY & SMASH Peer Leader Retreat, meaning youth of all genders are invited to apply.
  • July 24-August 1, 2023 at Nonacho Lodge is a FOXY Peer Leader Retreat, meaning young women and gender diverse youth are invited to apply. 

Is there a cost to attend?

There is no cost to participants for attending the FOXY Peer Leader Retreat. All costs will be covered by our main funder, the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as the generous support of our other sponsors. We are happy to work with many awesome Northern airlines to ensure that we can fly folks from even the most remote communities to Yellowknife to attend the Retreat.

What is the selection criteria?

All youth living in either the Northwest Territories, Nunavut or The Yukon who are between the ages of 13 and 17 as of the first day of the Retreat are encouraged to apply. Applying does not guarantee acceptance as we have limited spots available.

If I came to the Peer Leader Retreat before, can I attend again?

Possibly! We have a couple spots reserved for returning Peer Leaders as Peer Apprentices, so we encourage you to submit an application if you want to join us again!

How do I apply?

Please complete an application (available for download on our website!) or by emailing or calling Candice at 867-444-9108.

What is the FOXY team doing to ensure the participants’ physical and emotional safety while at the Retreat?

The FOXY&SMASH team takes safety very seriously and knows that scraped knees and broken bones aren’t the only ways someone can get hurt. We are very fortunate to have a first aider on site during the Retreat who is available to provide first aid in the case of an emergency. In addition, several of our facilitators are trained in CPR and Wilderness First Aid, and camp staff are also trained in Wilderness First Aid. 

Regarding participants’ emotional safety, the Retreat can include introspective activities that occasionally touch on some uncomfortable or awkward topics. While we try to ensure that all our activities occur in a safer space, free of judging and intolerance, we also encourage participants to come forward if they are feeling overwhelmed, scared, or upset. If an activity upsets a participant, they are encouraged to excuse themselves, either for a moment to take a break or for the remainder of the activity. A professionally trained mental health worker will attend the Retreat to be on hand for the participants, and several staff members are trained in mental health first aid and crisis intervention.

If you have any concerns about a potential participant’s well-being, please contact us to discuss them.