Although they won’t be offering a day camp program this summer, the Town of Inuvik is introducing a new summer program to the community in July that will allow youth to stay active every day of the week.
From July 2 to August 23, the “Activities for Youth” play program will offer youth the opportunity to engage in a new activity during the evening hours of weekdays and weekends.
Lise Saumur, director of community services for the Town of Inuvik, said that goal of the program is to get the youth playing outside as much as possible.
“It’s like ‘get out and get active’, as opposed to just sitting at home on your cellphone or watching TV. Even if we’re doing crafts, it’ll be outside in the park at a table in the sunshine,” said Saumur.
Rain or shine, she continued, the program will always find a way to keep youth outdoors.
“When it rains, put on a raincoat, hat and rubber boots go look for frogs. There is stuff that you can do in the rain,” she said. “You can still do a lot of things. We want to get them in a different mindset.”
The program will also allow youth to gain access to sporting equipment, such as croquet mallets, tennis and badminton rackets, lacrosse gear and more.
“If we can bring that out and show them the new games that they can play – just to expose them to something more and something different,” she said.
Five staff members are being brought in to run the programming, who Saumur said have “unique talents to expose the kids to are stuff that they aren’t generally exposed to everyday.”
She added that the she hopes that staff will help youth return to traditional and minimalist games such as double dutch, where all you need is a skipping rope.
“There’s also a lot of games out there that they can learn to play that don’t involve a lot of equipment,” she said. “All you need is nothing to do quite a bit. If we can show them those types of games that they can do impromptu, then bonus.”
The program will be filling in for the Town’s Camp Kivuni summer day camp program, which Saumur said was cancelled due to the number of similar programs that were being offered by various organizations in the community.
“The IRC is having a free three-week day camp program and I know that the Greenhouse does a week…Ingamo has been running something too. It’s just too much,” she said. “The 9 to 5 is taken care of, so let’s take a look at after hours.”
The town’s Green Shack Play program is returning once again this year, which will see three green shacks full of sporting goods placed in different parks around town.
“They go there in the evening, open up the green shack and there’s all sorts of equipment in there for the kids to play with,” she said. “Skipping ropes, chalk, balls. There’s different things that they can give to the kids.”
Similarly, the program will run in the evenings during the weekday, but will only have one staff member on duty to monitor and facilitate the youth.
“It’s more low-key where we’ll open up the shack and you play with whatever you want. You’re playing with a ball, but there’s no one to play with, so staff will play catch,” she said.
In the end, she hopes that youth learn to appreciate simple play.
“The kids have grown up with so much technology that they don’t appreciate simple play. If we can see through the course of summer that kids are enjoying simple play, everything will have been worthwhile,” she said.