It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon when 90 Cree students – 10 from each of the nine communities of Eeyou Istchee – arrived at Olympic Stadium in Montreal to enjoy the CFL Eastern final game between the Montreal Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts.

The kids came to Montreal November 18 and stayed until November 20 when the international We Day gathering was held at the Théâtre St-Denis. The Cree School Board as well as the Cree Justice Department sponsored the trip, while the Cree Health Board paid for the football tickets.

An initiative of Free the Children, We Day is an international educational movement whose main goal is to inspire the next generation to get engaged in the world around them and to make an impact. The organization brings together students from all over Canada to We Day events hosted in major cities.

Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children, said, “In the past school year alone, young people have raised $6 million to support local and international causes, and volunteered a total of 1.7 million hours. It’s remarkable what we can accomplish when we come together to make a change. I can’t wait to see what the Quebec youth can do this school year.”

The blaring vuvuzelas and massive crowds raised an excitement in the kids, many of whom were visiting Montreal for the first time. As each class arrived at the stadium the smiles and excitement were visible on all the students’ faces as they made their way to their seats.

The students joined in with the crowd chanting for the home team Alouettes who, after leading through most of the first half of the game, fell flat on several missed plays and interceptions to eventually lose to the Argonauts. But it was an experience these students will never forget.

The comments from the students after the game were it was “fun to watch” and it “could have gone better”. The mad dash following the game to exit the stadium was quite the experience with 50,000 fans rushing into the métro station all at once. The students made their way back to their hotels to rest up for the next two days of events leading up to We Day.