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COLUMN: A true community effort

There are times something not so hot happens in a Kivalliq hamlet and one's positivity can take a fairly serious hit, depending on how long you've called the region home.

Then there are other times when something truly special goes down – big or small – and you become a total believer in the good in our communities once again.

The past two weeks in Rankin Inlet represents the latter example.

Now, whether you look upon it as a big thing or a small thing is, in most cases, simply a matter of perspective.

Rankin Inlet was an extremely busy place the past two weeks with the Pakallak Tyme celebrations and the Rankin end of the Northern Exchange program taking place at the same time.

Planning, organizing and handling the load of activities that took place in this community over a 10-day period is not for the faint of heart.

Yet, the community of Rankin Inlet rose to the occasion, and I would almost argue that a better job of juggling a myriad of responsibilities could scarcely be done.

A number of Kivalliq communities are benefiting from having most excellent recreation coordinators right now, and Rankin Inlet tops that list.

And the entire group of parents, coaches, organizers and neighbours who stepped up to accommodate the group from Mimico, Ont., during their stay in Rankin are to be commended for a job very well done.

Ditto the hamlet's recreation department. It was no easy task to keep everything rolling smoothly during those 10 days and not having events and activities running into one another.

And, despite her modesty, summertime assistant recreation coordinator Tagalik Eccles played a large roll in the success of Pakallak Tyme.

With Clark's attention split between the festivities and the exchange program – and then having to leave early to assume his duties as an assistant coach for the Team North squad competing at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Membertou, N.S., from May 1 to 14 – Eccles did a quite admirable job steering the ship in his absence.

But, really, more than anything or anyone, the success of the two events running in unison was a total community effort.

Even after almost 20 years of calling Rankin Inlet home, I still get, well, goosebumps when I see a large group of kids playing together outside with not a care in the world, laughter filling the air, and everything happening around them courtesy of volunteers or the hamlet's recreation department.

The interactions I witnessed between the Mimico kids and the Rankin youths was also pretty darn special.

A hefty number of these kids have become good friends and, if they lived in the same community, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine them as BFFs (best friends forever).

Most of the Ontario kids were dazzled by playing outside – Williamson Lake became a very special place to many of them – and when you put a 13-year-old city boy at the controls of a Ski-Doo; well, that's the big time to that young dude, and you couldn't wipe the smile off of his face with a large box of Kimwipes.

Freedom means many things to many people but with youth, the freedom bar is often set well within grasp and their original tastes of that freedom are sweet; quite sweet indeed.

So kudos to the community of Rankin Inlet for a job extremely well done in the face of a challenging, if fun-filled, 10 days.

The laughter that rang out across the hamlet during that time period belonged to each-and-every-person who did their share to make sure both the people who attended Pakallak Tyme and the kids in the Northern Exchange program had a most-excellent time in our community.

Rise up and take a bow, people. You deserve it.