With lockdowns and gathering limits being eased somewhat, that means a bit more can be done in person.

The Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut (RPAN) is hoping it will be able to offer more face-to-face activities and has tweaked its Winter Youth Program to reflect that.

The program is underway in some communities, such as Kugluktuk, which started on Jan. 19 with a scavenger hunt. Pond Inlet began the following day.

It’s going to be a mixture of home-based and in-person activities, according to Dawn Currie MacKinnon, RPAN’s executive director.

She said the approach will allow for more flexibility in planning but there are some rules that will apply.

“We met with all of the participating communities on (Jan. 19) and talked about that,” she said. “Some of the restrictions have been lifted but the final decision on what goes on still lies with each community. All of our communities will have something in-person, though.”

What that looks like is still to be determined but one thing Currie MacKinnon said she hopes will get up and running is the After-School Program.

“The limit will probably be 20 kids and staff together and we’ll probably get the kids to register for alternating days,” she said. “That’s so we can allow as many kids to participate.”

The Winter Camp Program, similar to the Get Happy Summer Day Camp program, is scheduled to go ahead in February and will have rules in place as well, she added.

“We’ll have to do it within the regulations as laid out in each community and that will probably mean one session in the mornings and another in the afternoons,” she said. “It’s just good to get back at it because people have been living with restrictions for a while now.”

The at-home option was originally meant to be the programming offered by RPAN until the territory’s easing of restrictions earlier this month. That will still happen with several activities planned, including craft kits being delivered to homes, a kids radio bingo, a Valentine’s colouring contest, a kids fitness challenge and a family walking challenge.

Currie MacKinnon said what each of those activities will be is up to the program leaders in the communities.

“For example, the family walking challenge is something that families can do together outside,” she said. “We won’t get several families walking together because the numbers wouldn’t allow for it but families are allowed to walk together. We want people to get outside and get active and do something and walking is a perfect activity.”

And if a community has an idea for another challenge, Currie MacKinnon said they’re more than welcome to do so.

“I know some communities are planning on doing a traditional clothing competition,” she said. “It’s basically do what you can because we have to adjust to things. We’re lucky that a lot of our communities have leaders that have worked in the summer day camp program or another one of our programs. They know how to change things up on the fly and adjust to what’s happening.”

Making adjustments is something people have had to do for the past two years now, she added.

“We may not like it but we’ve had to,” she said. “It’s all about being flexible and in recreation, you have to be flexible at times. The alternative is doing absolutely nothing and we don’t want that.”

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