Youth program looks ahead

by James McCarthy- July 1, 2018

The Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut (RPAN) is already off and running with its summer programming but there’s the hope that it will become bigger.

And with some help from Nunavut Tunngavik (NTI), it just might.

Participants in the Get Happy Summer Day Camp training toss balloons in the air after the tower building team challenge on June 11. The Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut, which runs the program, is hoping to expand it around the territory thanks to multi-year funding from Nunavut Tunngavik. photo courtesy of Dawn Currie

NTI’s Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corporation announced its recipients from the project concepts call from fall 2017 last month and RPAN was one of the groups chosen to receive funding. RPAN’s project entitled Leading The Way – Youth Recreation Strategy was awarded $875,000 over the next three years to help provide youth with leadership skills through parks and recreation.

“This is going to go a long way,” said Dawn Currie, RPAN’s executive director. “We normally get funding from the sport and recreation division but that’s just for programming. This funding will help us train people and get them involved in their communities.”

Most of the focus will be on the Get Happy Summer Day Camp program, which is underway in several communities around Nunavut, and the newly-piloted NU Play after-school program.

“Those are two programs we want to expand on and get into more communities,” said Currie.

The planned expansion deals with combining both programs into a year-round youth initiative where youth are being trained and supported to run programs for children in their communities but Currie said there’s a cultural component to it as well.

“We want to hire some cultural experts to be part of the team and hire contract workers to help develop a training curriculum,” she said. “We want them to be facilitators on how to introduce such things as Arctic sports to the Get Happy program and use local resources to build qamutiks and even throat singing.”

There’s also the goal of hiring people from the regions to go into communities and work with youth on sport, she added.

“We would help by giving those people who go into communities support,” she said. “The funding from NTI will help us get into more communities so we can employ more people under contract, which gives us more of a presence in terms of local and regional support.”

In a press release, Aluki Kotierk, NTI’s president, said seeing more Inuit gain employment is always a plus.

“I look forward to seeing efforts to enhance the preparedness of Nunavut Inuit to participate in employment,” she said.

Former premier Paul Quassa also said in a press release that the Nunavut government was pleased with how Makigiaqta was progressing.

“As the work of the corporation continues, the Government looks forward to more opportunities to enhance educational and training options for Inuit in Nunavut,” he said.

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