Go back



NNSL Logo .
 Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad Print window Print this page

New job, new goals

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 20, 2007

HAY RIVER - Kevin Daniels - the new executive director of Hay River's Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre - has several goals in his new role.

One is to change a common misperception.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Kevin Daniels is the new executive director of Hay River's Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Daniels said some people in Hay River have the incorrect idea that the friendship centre is just for native people because it's in a building labelled the Aboriginal Centre.

"Our clients are anybody and everybody," he said. "You're welcome in here."

The friendship centre's programs, such as youth activities, a food bank, and alcohol and drug addiction services, are for the whole community.

Daniels said another objective is to increase fundraising.

"That is my main goal," he said.

Currently, most of the friendship centre's community and youth programming is funded by government, particularly by Ottawa.

Daniels said, if a friendship centre depends only on government funding, all it will be able to offer is minimal services.

Instead, he would like to find more support from the community and corporate donors, while maintaining government funding.

That would make the friendship centre more self-sufficient, he said.

"I think our goal will be reached when the government of Canada is not our major funder," he said.

Daniels also wants to work in partnership with K'atlodeeche First Nation, the Hay River Metis Council and the Hay River Community Youth Centre to avoid duplication of programming for youth.

Another of his goals is to see more activities in the friendship centre's hall.

"It's very seldom used," he noted. "I want it to get used as much as it can."

That would include more community-based programs and entertainment, possibly a talent show.

Daniels, 44, said he has big shoes to fill in replacing Soaring Eagle's former executive director Vern Jones, who has moved on to become president of the Northwest Territories Metis Nation.

"He really did wonders with this place," he said of Jones.

Daniels himself has a lot of experience which has prepared him for his new role.

In the late 1980s, he worked as a recreation co-ordinator with a friendship centre in Fort McMurray.

In the early 1990s, he was a recreation facilities maintainer for the arena and ball fields in his hometown of Fort Smith.

Afterwards, he was recreation co-ordinator for the Yellowknives Dene.

Throughout all those years, he also coached hockey and fastball.

"I'm a people person," Daniels said of his involvement in sports. "It's for the enjoyment, really."

Daniels - a married father of three - continues to also work evenings and weekends as a relief corrections officer at the South Mackenzie Correctional Centre.

For the past two years, Daniels was the regional desk co-ordinator for the Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Centres initiative with the NWT-Nunavut Council of Friendship Centres.

In that position, he oversaw funding for youth programs and spending in the NWT, Yukon and Nunavut.

"I really enjoyed it," he said.

However, he said he needed a change because of constant travelling - three or four trips a year to Ottawa and around the three territories.

Daniels did not have to move far for his new job, which he started about a month ago. As Youth Centre's regional desk co-ordinator, he worked out of an office at Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre.