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CANSEBP newsletter February 18 (1)

OPP Turning Creative Ideas into Action with Project Sunset and Project Journey

OPP Turning Creative Ideas into Action with Project Sunset and Project Journey








OPP ‘Project Sunset’ – A Paradigm Shift For Policing





Getting Back to Nature with Special Guests from the OPP

In October 2017 special guests from the OPP Indigenous Police Bureau visited each of the Project Sunset communities and led an outdoor lesson that included singing traditional songs, lighting fires and making soup, tea or hot chocolate.

The students all showed their fire making skills from gathering kindling and using a flint and steel to get a flame, to making the tripods and supervising the boil.

Beautiful weather created a stunning backdrop for the youth to get outside and practice experiential learning.
Check it out!


Crafting Togetherness

Project Sunset participants regularly have the opportunity to learn from local Elders, community leaders and artists to explore their creativity during our Music, Arts and Culture days. We have had the opportunity to make traditional drums and drumsticks, bags, earrings, dreamcatchers and artwork on canvas and paddles!!

Check out our video and let us know what you think!


We LOVE Healthy Food at Project Sunset

Young people need nutrition education to help them develop lifelong healthy eating patterns.  With help from our friends at the Northwestern Health Unit (, Project Sunset provides healthy foods consistent with school food and beverage policies.  Project Sunset events are ideal settings for nutrition education for several reasons:

Project Sunset uses strengths-based approaches to work with schools in reaching almost all children and adolescents to model healthy lifestyles and behaviours.

Project Sunset provides practical opportunities and mentorship to youth in practicing healthy preparation and eating.

Project Sunset team members teach youth how to resist social pressures, including eating behaviours. Together, with community stakeholders, we acknowledge and address peer pressure that discourages healthy eating while harnessing the power of peer pressure to reinforce healthy behaviours.

And, Project Sunset can take lessons one step further with our Community Service Ethic Component!  We work with youth to build their understanding of food sustainability through our community garden projects!


How will Project Sunset be Evaluated?

Program evaluations collect, analyse, and use information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency. Stakeholders often want to know whether the programs are producing the intended effect. While program evaluation first focuses around this definition, important considerations often include how much the program costs per participant, how the program could be improved, whether the program is worthwhile, whether there are better alternatives, if there are unintended outcomes, and whether the program goals are appropriate and useful. Evaluators help to answer these questions.

During the Project Sunset evaluation both program and school documentation is utilized, for example how often the children attended, the descriptions of the activities and reports of student participation.  Project Sunset process and impact evaluation will be performed by qualified external evaluators adhering to and practicing Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP) principles.  Evaluation practices adhere to the highest ethics standards.

Site visits will be conducted each year by the evaluators where they will conduct focus groups, face to face interviews with youth, parents, teachers, school administrators, police officers and community partners as well as control group surveys.  Photovoice experiences with reflection techniques will be employed to elicit responses from the participants’ based on their experience in the project.

An extensive Community Partner survey will be widely administered to all community organisations engaged with Project Sunset to develop or deliver the program.  It will assess the level of involvement partners have with the development and implementation of Project Sunset as well as the perceptions of community partners in the operation and impact of the program.  A key objective of Project Sunset is to sustain program deliverables through a network of key community organisations, so it is essential that the evaluation determine its effectiveness so community partners can determine their ability and willingness to take on program delivery in the future.

Interviews will also be conducted to determine

  • The extent to which the project has been implemented as intended
  • Whether the intended outcomes have been achieved
  • If there are any unintended outcomes
  • Lessons learned in implementing the program (any adaptations or modifications)

Interviews would be conducted by a third party evaluation team in conjunction with Project Sunset core delivery partners including parents, community leaders or elders as well as teachers and Police Officers participating in the Project.

Focus groups with students participating in Project Sunset will be held during site visits to obtain additional information about program implementation and contextual information about student satisfaction with the program.

Finally, a non-traditional data collection method using Photovoice.  Photovoice is an innovative method for showing how projects had impacted the lives of youth and/or families.

It allows for people to record and reflect on a program, highlighting its strengths and problems to promote a dialogue through discussion and photographs, to shed light on the impacts of the program.  It is particularly helpful in empowering youth and allows them to give their observations in a way that values personal knowledge and experience. 

The use of Photovoice promotes trust between the researcher and the youth, allowing for an honest dialogue about the project’s impact and the participants views of the experience.  It creates a window from the individual experience into an understanding of community members and their needs.

As part of the evaluation of Project Sunset, program participants will be asked to take photos that demonstrate something about Project Sunset and then describe in writing, how it has impacted them.  This valuable information will be collected in years2 and 3 of the evaluation



What is Project Sunset?

Listen to the latest and let us know what you think!


Community Partner Profile-Fresh Market Foods in Sioux Lookout

Since May 2017, Project Sunset has been delivering in-school and after-school programming at Sioux Mountain Public School in Sioux Lookout. Project Sunset is an initiative that aims to build sustainable community partnerships with the goal of identifying innovative solutions that proactively address the root causes of youth crime, social disorder and crisis. One of the sustainable community partnerships that we have built is with Fresh Market Foods in Sioux Lookout, Ontario.


Fresh Market Foods, is a local independent grocery store owned by Todd Nadon and Tracey Bullock. The owners are proud supporters of their community and often partner with local organizations to ensure that their community thrives. Fresh Market Foods have been partnering with different after-school programs and community organizations to promote healthy products and ultimately, the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. We reached out to the owners of Fresh Market Foods and they told us, “We believe all this contributes to a healthier attitude and a better sense of self, we hope that if some of these basic things take hold we will see our youth make better choices throughout their lives because they have the confidence and energy to accomplish anything they set their mind to”.


At Project Sunset, we know that nutrition is a critical piece in sustaining healthy children and thus, lends to a healthy community. Each week Fresh Market Foods delivers us fresh and healthy produce and goods. They have donated meals such as Greek wraps with fruit, lasagna with salad and moose stew. Todd Nadon, owner of Fresh Market Foods told us that, “the challenges with nutrition are many, but ultimately we believe that education is the biggest barrier to good food choice. Providing an environment where youth can not only learn about the benefits of healthy foods, but how fun, simple, and great tasting these foods can be is essential to our endeavour.” At Project Sunset, there is no bigger joy than to watch our students discover all kinds of new healthy foods and enjoy some of their all-time favourite meals from Fresh Market Foods.


Fresh Market Foods has had a very powerful and positive impact on our initiative because they have become a strong and positive community partner. Their donations and support have allowed us to help our students in many ways and continue to aid Project Sunset in obtaining successful outcomes at this specific project site. It has been great to see the students enjoying all of the after-school snacks and meals and seeing them leaving with a smile and full belly thanks to Fresh Market Foods.


As a northern community, families in Sioux Lookout often struggle with nutrition because the cost of living is higher than other communities in Northwestern Ontario. According to The Report on the 2015 Northern Food Basket Survey[i], published in June 2016 by the Northwestern Health Unit, the cost of feeding a family of four with nutritious foods in Northwestern Ontario is $1,018 per month. This means that families working for minimum-wage or families on social assistance may be required to use 60-80% of household income to pay for food and rent alone, which does not leave a lot of flexibility on other family expenses.  This same survey indicated that over 1,600 people in Northwestern Ontario are food insecure. This means that they are unable to access the proper foods to maintain a healthy diet.



According to Diabetes Canada the incidence and prevalence rates of diabetes are several times higher among indigenous peoples compared to the general population [ii]To work towards lowering the rate of diagnosis of diabetes in First Nations, an active and healthy lifestyle needs to be accessible to youth in order to work towards preventing diabetes in at-risk youth. In addition, it is most beneficial when programs are developed in collaboration with community partners and promote activities and foods that are safe, acceptable and accessible to prevent the risk of diabetes[iii].


It is important to our team at Project Sunset to ensure that the proper ingredients for a healthy lifestyle are always accessible to all of our students. We are so grateful to Todd and Tracey at Fresh Market Foods for their immense contributions to our initiative. Their food donations not only help us continue to ensure that the students are fed, but also work to promote a healthy lifestyle. We use their donations to provide after-school snacks and dinner for the children at Sioux Mountain Public School. Their donations ensure that we can continue to deliver innovative and experiential programming while helping these students grow into healthy and active members in their community.


Once again, thank you from the entire team at Project Sunset for your support!













[i] Northwestern Health Unit. (2016.)  Northern Food Basket Survey Report.  Retrieved from:

[ii] Diabetes Canada. (2013.) Canadian Journal of Diabetes: type 2 Diabetes in Aboriginal Peoples

Retrieved from:

[iii] Diabetes Canada. (2013.) Canadian Journal of Diabetes: type 2 Diabetes in Aboriginal Peoples

Retrieved from:


Projects Sunset and Journey – Pioneering Prevention

11 October 2017 – by Sgt. Anne McCoy and Lincoln Dunn with Debra Marks

Project Journey and Sunset are two OPP youth-centered engagement strategies taking place in North West Region. Both projects model groundbreaking crime prevention strategies, coupled with third-party process and impact evaluations. These strategies are the first of their kind in support of community safety and wellbeing in Canada.

While Journey and Sunset have similar frameworks, Journey works with youth in the remote First Nation community of Pikangikum. Sunset is inclusive to youth, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, within Fort Frances, Dryden, Kenora and Sioux Lookout detachment areas.

The projects enhance youth resilience by promoting five key areas that are essential to positive development of children and youth. These areas include:

  • Education (academic achievement);
  • Life and social skills (behavioural development);
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills (cognitive development);
  • Physical activity (healthy lifestyle development); and
  • Mentorship (positive role models).

These projects are part of that strategic direction; they deliver innovative and proactive youth engagement strategies designed to address the root causes of crime, social disorder and crisis.














Rappelling youth at Boulder Bear Climbing.


“I’ve been a police officer for over 20 years, with the last seven years as a Community Services Officer. I’ll admit, I came into Sunset with a bit of skepticism,” said Constable Ronni Grosenick, Kenora OPP. “But now, I’m seeing clearly, this is not Community Service. Rather, it’s about using a model that addresses root causes. We are getting ahead of the curve, and I see it starting to work. After only five months, I’m seeing a shift in youth behaviour. Youth are verbalizing in class where it wasn’t happening before. Relationships are forming and parents are not only willing to work with the police, but the school is telling me that they’ve had parents attending school functions – and engaging the school community – for the first time.”


How it Works – Fidelity to a Proven Model “Project Venture”

Project Journey and Sunset are based upon Project Venture (PV), a proven curriculum for Grades 6 and 7, developed by the National Indian Youth Leadership Project (NIYLP) in the United States almost 30 years ago, and implemented in many communities across the U.S. and Canada. Outcomes found youth participants demonstrated a marked reduction in substance misuse, especially alcohol, as compared to the control group of non-participating youth.


Projects Journey and Sunset use five Venture components to actively engage youth in weekly nature-based activities, developing those life skills and reinforcing traditional values:

  • In-school activities;
  • After-school activities;
  • Community service projects;
  • Music, arts, and culture activities; and
  • Police activity league events.


Paradigm Shift – the Strengths-Based Perspective

Projects Journey and Sunset offer a strengths-based approach. Both Projects are youth-centered which means outputs address needs of youth rather than “fixing the problem.” A strengths-based approach begins by identifying “What is working well” and a belief that every youth has a unique set of strengths and capabilities, as well as the potential for growth, change and success. The teams provide trusted support for youth with encouragement to challenge themselves and be successful through safe risks. Strengths-based facilitation also supports youth through struggles or failures helping youth perceive all situations as learning opportunities for growth, resiliency, self-awareness, and self-worth.


“Activities are not only safe and positive, but they are meaningful to the youth. Experiences provide youth the opportunity to believe in themselves while connecting with role models and mentors that help guide their learning of important life skills which help them feel they have control over what happens in their lives.” said Sgt. Chris Amell, OPP Special Project Coordinator – Project Journey














Sgt. Chris Amell, OPP Special Project Coordinator working with Project Journey.


Honouring the Truth and Reconciliation for the Future


In recognizing the legacy of residential schools and to advance the progress of reconciliation at all levels of government, Projects Journey and Sunset provide opportunities for communities to take action to eliminate the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the judicial system over the next decade. Underscored is the need to embrace, include and intentionally celebrate local culture and traditions.


Both projects components embed local cultural values to ensure youth develop positive self-concept, effective social skills, a community service ethic, and internal locus of control, as well as improved decision-making, problem-solving skills and resiliency as part of restorative healing.


Pathway of Change – Groundbreaking Evaluation Strategies

When community partners are engaged with police, the level of safety, security and well-being in Ontario neighbourhoods is enhanced, and victimization is reduced. At times, however, community engagement can become focused on outputs because they are measurable and readily determined.


Projects Journey and Sunset are distinct because they are designed to take operations one step further, and focus on outcomes, rather than outputs. In taking this approach, programming needs to remain flexible, allowing for meaningful relationships to develop before needs of the audience can be discovered organically.


“Meaningful relationships with our communities is our number one issue for policing”, says Chief Superintendent Mark Pritchard. “The projects are ground breaking for policing services in Canada. To inspire positive change, both projects have discovered new processes necessary for leveraged community collaboration. We are seeing incredible outcomes beginning to emerge.”














C/Supt. Mark Pritchard  helping at Project Journey.


As part of the Contribution Agreement funding the Projects, the OPP, in consultation with Public Safety Canada Research Division is conducting a third-party evaluation of both projects to examine the effectiveness of the process used to implement the program, as well as measure the impacts on youth, their family, and immediate community. A key objective of the evaluation is to determine the extent to which the program creates positive outcomes, both intended and unintended, on youth, their families, and their communities.


“Project Sunset is giving these students the tools they need to be successful in life. They are learning about the importance of making healthy connections in the community. These connections are life altering not only for the students but also for the people in the community,” said Kari Lemelin, parent, whose child has been with Sunset for three years.


Although Projects Journey and Sunset are similar in a lot of ways, they are very distinct in many others. Together, they are finding new process to leverage community collaboration. It is expected the projects will not only help transform the operations of the OPP when working to meet needs of communities, but shared best practices will foster relationship when working with community partners to identify new efficiencies.














Sgt. Anne McCoy – OPP Special Projects Coordinator helping Sioux Lookout youth.