School will be out from Feb. 18 to 22 in the territory, meaning youth will be looking for something to do.
They won’t have that problem in Cambridge Bay and Sanikiluaq as the Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut (RPAN) will take care of that for them.
RPAN is rolling out a pilot program known as the NU Multi Sport Camp with both communities being used as the testing grounds, so to speak. Six Nunavummiut made the trip to Humber College in Toronto for training earlier this month and they will be joined by four students from the college to help deliver the program.
Dawn Currie, RPAN’s executive director, said the camps will feature three sports which have plenty of participation in the territory.
“We chose soccer because I have some connections in the sport, volleyball because of Scott Schutz’s connections and Arctic sports to have a traditional activity,” she said.
Cambridge Bay and Sanikiluaq were chosen as the first communities because they were able to commit to having everything ready for the camps, she added.
The camps will run for four days with three days of sport activity and a tournament on the fourth day. Each day will be split in half with one of the three sports played in the morning, followed by another in the afternoon.
“So day one could start with soccer in the morning and then Arctic sports in the afternoon,” said Currie. “The next day, they could start with volleyball and then soccer in the afternoon.”
The half-dozen people chosen from Nunavut to work with the pilot are between the ages of 18 and 25 and all have experience in the sports they’re working with, said Currie.
“They could be done playing or they aren’t eligible for the Arctic Winter Games because of age and they’ve become leaders in their community,” she said.
The Nunavut folks will be helped by four students from Humber College, who will act both as support staff as well as helping with logistics on the ground.
“We’ve split them into two groups of five with half going to Cambridge Bay and the other half going to Sanikiluaq,” said Currie.
Each sport will have a team leader every time it’s held in one of the communities. For example, Akpak Duval of Baker Lake will be leading the Arctic Sports activities when it’s being done in Cambridge Bay, where he will be travelling to. The other four staff will act as support for him until it’s over and Duval will then act as support staff for another team leader for a different sport.
Each sport had a specific training program which everyone will be following when they’re on the ground and they were put together by people who have plenty of experience with the territory, said Currie.
“Susie Pearce of Iqaluit, who’s very well-known in Arctic sports, developed our Arctic sports program,” she said. “Scott Schutz did our volleyball and Jay DaCosta of Ottawa did soccer.”
Currie also said the excitement was obvious among everyone who’s getting to do this.
“They are proud to be a part of this,” she said. “Emily-Ann Niego (of Iqaluit) was gushing when she was doing her training and it’s so neat to see them come through the system. They’re working with us because of their experience and leadership. We’re not looking to develop any all-stars from this, it’s all about active kids and giving them something to do so they aren’t getting into any sort of trouble.”