Born and raised in Meadow Lake, Sask., Andrew Campbell knew at an early age that the ranching life was not for him — he wanted to go to the big city to make his own way. Now at 20 years old, he’s living on his own in Saskatoon for the first time.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “I’m doing whatever I want.”
He lives in the Aspen Heights complex with a roommate, which makes the rent cheaper, and he got the master bedroom in the townhouse. He likes being close to grocery stories, and especially likes how quick the drive is to get to the SaskTel arena over the new bridge on the north end of town.
Andrew is a big hockey fan. In Meadow Lake before the pandemic, he ran a business called Voice of the North where he would keep score and announce at hockey games. Now that he’s in Saskatoon, he’s looking for volunteer and internship opportunities with local sports teams with the help of Inclusion Saskatchewan and his support network.
Watch Andrew speak at the 2022 Inclusion Saskatchewan Breakfast
Andrew and his family have been involved with Inclusion Saskatchewan since he was young, and his mother Bluesette Campbell said before the big move, his family didn’t know if he would be able to live independently or how much support he might require.
“When this opportunity came up, we got really excited, because we were thinking it would take a long time to create a living opportunity for him in the city,” said Bluesette, who is also President of Inclusion Saskatchewan. “To be honest, we weren't sure there would be a right opportunity given where he's coming from. We don't have any natural supports in the city. What is that going to look like?”
Through the cooperation of NAHC, the Real Life Rentals property manager, and Inclusion Saskatchewan, Bluesette knows Andrew has the support he needs and she doesn’t worry even though she lives four hours away.
“We can sleep at night, because we have this network,” she said. “It’s about supporting an individual to learn the skills they need to be successful in living independently, so there are stepping stones as opposed to this huge leap.”
Aiden Young moved into the Willowview Heights complex in October 2020, and the move has come with an amazing transformation — both inside and out.
Prior to moving to Willowview, he’d been living in a group youth home that was a poor environment for him, and had struggled with anxiety, stress, and fatigue, and had even had trips to the hospital. You can read more about Aiden’s struggles in our Empowering Inclusion in Affordable Housing Guide.
“Now, I'm able to pretty much get things under my control, like under my terms,” he said. “I get to call the shots. And all I have is one roommate to deal with.”
A couple of days after he moved into the Willowview Heights townhouse, he joined a nearby gym — and he competed as a bodybuilder for the first time in September 2022!
“I just went straight to the gym, got myself a membership, no questions asked, and the rest just became history,” he said. “I had to really push myself.”
Watch Aiden’s story, featured at the 2022 Inclusion Saskatchewan Breakfast:
Aiden says he had an interest in exercise and weightlifting since he was young, but that interest didn’t really take off until he moved into his own place two years ago.
Becoming a bodybuilder is an especially impressive accomplishment for Aiden because he has a rare disease called phenylketonuria (PKU), which requires him to eat a low-protein diet.
“People with this condition don't usually go into bodybuilding,” he said. “Growing up, most people in my family would be like, well, you're probably not going to go … even close into the gym because of your medical condition.”
He’s now a role model in the PKU community, showing people that it’s possible to thrive with the disease, and has even contacted an organization requesting research into a longitudinal study on athletes with PKU.
While he’s still exercising at the gym down the block, he knows that someday he’ll outgrow that gym as his bodybuilding journey continues. He’s hoping to attend another bodybuilding competition in Calgary in 2023.