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Thunderbird Partnership Foundation

Buffalo Riders Training Program

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For more information
on Buffalo Riders training please e-mail Nora Bressette at
nbressette@nnapf.com or call her directly at 519-383-9520. You can also call our toll free number at
1-866-763-4714.

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The Buffalo Riders program in a few words

The Buffalo Riders program enhances and strengthens community-based capacity to provide youth with early and brief interventions and support services in reducing substance using behaviour. The five day training program for facilitators includes the latest research and culturally specific teachings about youth resiliency, risk and protective factors, and developmental assets/factors which research has identified as critical for young people’s successful growth and development.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is the target group of the Buffalo Riders program?

First Nations youth between the ages of 11 – 13 years who are indicated as at risk through substance use, living on reserve, and/or attending the community school.


Who should attend the training sessions?

The training was designed for two facilitators from each community (one from NNADAP and one from the school/community) in order to strengthen partnerships between the local health centres and schools and, in many cases, other community partnerships. Sometimes time and funds do not always allow for each community to send two facilitators so the attendance of two facilitators is only recommended and is not mandatory. This training would most benefit:

  • NNADAP Workers
  • First Nations Wellness Workers
  • First Nations School Support Staff and Counsellors
  • First Nations Youth Counselors and Youth Care Workers
  • First Nations Addiction and Mental Health Workers

Why two facilitators?

Facilitator feedback from debrief:
“It was important to have another person (co-facilitator) to be there for support, especially to attend to individual student needs. If one facilitator did not connect with a student, the other one was able to. It was more difficult to offer the program when the co-facilitator wasn’t able to participate any longer. The school is interested in offering the program to the Grade 6 class next school year.”


What does it cost to attend a Buffalo Riders training session?

The registration fee is $1,700.00 per facilitator.


What is included in the registration fee?

  • 5 days of training
  • All training manuals and books
  • Daily breakfast and lunch buffet
  • Daily morning and afternoon nutritional breaks
  • On-going training support with NNAPF project coordinator
  • Access to online learning portal and online training to review modules
  • All the materials to implement the 10 program modules
  • Ongoing assess to student assessments with facilitator support
  • Debriefing and coaching by NNAPF’s expert trainer Nora Bressette

Please note that applicants must provide their own travel and accommodations – these are not included in the registration fee.


What is the Buffalo Riders training syllabus?
Module 1 – Program Background
Module 2 – Introduction to Drug Use and Misuse
Module 3 – Indigenous Teachings
Module 4 – Resiliency
Module 5 – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Module 6 – Emotional Intelligence
Module 7 – Influencing Change in the Brain
Module 8 – Facilitation Skills
Module 9 – Screening, Needs Assessment, and Recruiting
Module 10 – Designing Your Sessions


What are the goals of the Buffalo Riders program?

  • Improve community capacity to deliver early intervention services for at risk and/or substance using youth
  • Increase access to early intervention and evidence informed interventions for at risk and/or substance using youth
  • Increase utilization of early intervention services
  • Support services in reducing substance using behaviour
  • Decrease demand for and utilization of long term intensive treatment services
  • Decrease substance use and harms associated with substance use among youth

  • What are the deliverables of the Buffalo Riders program?

    • Provide training manual, games, books, reading material, and 26 training modules to support a 10 session life skills-based after school or in school program for youth aged 11-13 years old (grade 7 & 8)
      Note: the program has been used with both adults and younger youth
    • Provide 5 days of face-to-face training for up to 20 facilitators per session
    • Provide 20 pre- and post- assessments in Resiliency, Emotional Intelligence, and Drug Use Screening Inventory (DUSI) / participant
    • Provide facilitator with support for implementation of the program after the 5 days of training

    What theories are employed by the Buffalo Riders program?

    • Positive identity development increases hope, a vision for their future, and resiliency. Drug and alcohol use are reduced by learning accurate information about the impact that colonization had (and has) on establishing positive identity.
    • Strength based practices that include positive identity development and increasing resiliency. Drug and alcohol use are reduced through learning social and emotional competency along with the ability to resist peer pressure.
    • Improved capacity at the community level to deliver early intervention services results with more appropriate referrals for more intensive longer term treatment and, eventually, less demand for long term intensive drug treatment services.
    • One time interventions do not lead to sustainable change. An increased community capacity to provide appropriate supports increases opportunities for sustained change.

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