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Rankin rec department goes all out to deliver good times for community

The 2018 edition of the Christmas Games holiday schedule was another popular success in Rankin Inlet.

Patrick Kabluitok proudly displays the vouchers for a pair of Calm Air tickets after his name was drawn at the hamlet of Rankin Inlet's Christmas staff party in Rankin on Dec. 21, 2018. Photo courtesy hamlet of Rankin Inlet
Patrick Kabluitok proudly displays the vouchers for a pair of Calm Air tickets after his name was drawn at the hamlet of Rankin Inlet's Christmas staff party in Rankin on Dec. 21, 2018. Photo courtesy hamlet of Rankin Inlet

The Christmas schedule ran from Dec. 22 to Jan. 1 and featured something for all ages. Events included a community feast, square-dance competition, elders' breakfast, numerous indoor games, talent show, a kid's carnival, dazzling fireworks display, the annual senior men's all-star hockey game and Kevin Fredlund Christmas Classic (Toronto vs. Montreal) old-timers' game. And, of course, a visit from Old Saint Nick himself.
Rankin recreation co-ordinator David Clark was in his 13th year organizing the holiday activities and he said the events have gotten bigger during the past decade. He said the recreation department learns from what it does each year, dropping activities that don't prove popular with the community and often tweaking those that are to make them even better the following year.
"We had really good turnouts for all the events this year," said Clark.
"The community hall was packed pretty much the whole time and we had lots of fun games that everyone really seemed to enjoy.
"Now that myself, Cody Tulugak and the guys over at our fire department are trained to put on a professional fireworks display, the fireworks show has become a really big complement to our holiday lineup and is something everyone looks forward to now to celebrate the new year."
Clark said the hamlet had a good number of volunteers to help out with all the holiday activities.
He said the community has a lot of people willing to help out with special events, so it's really a matter of having someone in charge of a certain event to ensure it runs well.
"I had extra help this year because I was able to hire a couple of extra staff members during the holidays and that helped with everything big time.
"So everything worked out quite well, actually.
"Among the favourite activities each year, the square-dance competition is always a huge hit and the indoor games at the community hall are always packed like crazy.
"The elders' breakfast is always very popular and the Toronto vs. Montreal old-timers' game (Kevin Fredlund Christmas Classic) is another event that is hugely popular and packs the arena every year."
Clark said Wesley Innukshuk always does a great job hosting the games sponsored by the local Search and Rescue Committee, as well as the local radio station.
He said Innukshuk's contributions to the annual holiday activities are always greatly appreciated by the recreation department.
"Wesley is always a big help to me during the holidays.
"He's really pretty good at what he does and he always adds some pretty funny games at the community hall.
"Wesley really enjoys hosting those activities and he does a fantastic job every year, so a lot of people always thank him for doing it.
"Our bantam hockey team ran the kids' carnival, which was right before their tournament in Winnipeg, so that was a nice way to give back to the community and also show the players that when you suit up with the Rankin Rock you're expected to also help out with community events during the year."
Clark said while it's impossible to please everyone, the community seemed quite happy with this year's activities.
He said everyone – volunteers, a number of outside organizations and the recreation department – chips in to ensure the annual Christmas events schedule is as good as it can possibly be.
"The hamlet pays out more than $30,000 during the 10 days we run the activities, so I don't know what else we can do other than simply doing our best for the community every year.
"Everyone's in their holiday mode and we're going to work every day and doing the best we can to make sure the events are happening and people are happy. So I would hope the community appreciates our efforts.
"It's non-stop for my rec staff with the community hall, the lobby and the arena being used from morning to night and, although I know they're sometimes wishing they could spend more time at home with their families, my staff know working during the holidays is part of working in recreation and they always do a fantastic job.
"Now our biggest step is trying to get a bigger community hall so we can have room for everybody."