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Five years worth of celebration

Hard to believe but the Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut (RPAN) has been around for five years now.

Chris Sittokuk, recreation co-ordinator in Sanikiluaq, cracks a smile as he looks over paperwork with Adam Krejunark, recreation co-ordinator in Kugaaruk, during the Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut's annual Recreation and Sport Leader Conference in Iqaluit on Oct. 17. photo courtesy of Dawn Currie

“I can't believe how fast it's gone and how much we've grown over that time,” said Dawn Currie, RPAN's executive director. “We started five years ago with a budget of $100,000 and we've seen that grow to $800,000 now.”

So it would make sense that RPAN would have some big things planned for its fifth annual Recreation and Sport Leader Conference in Iqaluit, which wrapped up Oct. 19. The conference brought together recreation co-ordinators, volunteers and coaches from around the territory converging on the capital for workshops, presentations and even coaching clinics put on by the Nunavut Soccer Association and Volleyball Nunavut.

One of the big events at the conference was the launch of the Community Recreation Leadership Program (CLRP), which is being run by Recreation North, a collaboration of RPAN, the NWT Recreation and Parks Association and the Recreation and Parks Association of Yukon. The CLRP is the result of the Tri-Territorial Recreation Training Program, which was the recipient of $600,000 from the Arctic Inspiration Prize in 2016.

The idea behind the CLRP is to train recreation workers and volunteers from the North in a Northern-based program through online learning, something which has been sorely lacking in the North, said Currie.

“We're still challenged with Internet service in some communities but all of the hamlets are on board with supporting the individuals who are taking this,” she said. “I know some of the communities are allowing those who are taking the program to use time during the work week to complete the modules and that speaks to the need of the program.”

For a participant to complete the training, they will have to finish a total of 10 courses, eight of which are mandatory. Each month of the program deals with different courses. For October, Introduction to Recreation Foundations was on the table. November will see participants work on Planning For Success and Identifying Leadership Strengths.

Because this is the first year of the program, Recreation North launched it as a pilot and is free of charge for this round of participants.

Currie said there are five people from Nunavut taking part in the pilot: two from Arviat and one each from Qikiqtarjuaq, Kugluktuk and Pond Inlet.

Four of the courses were introduced at the conference itself and Currie said anyone who completed those courses could count them as a credit toward completion.

“The focus was on getting the program out there and showing everyone what it's all about,” she said. “I'm happy with the way it was presented and I would be surprised if the five people who are in the pilot program didn't complete it.”

The Recreation and Sport Awards Gala was another of the highlights of the weekend. Several people were recognized for their work in sport and recreation, something Currie said was important to do.

“People recognize what a great evening it is,” she said. “We had over 100 people attend and now I'm trying to figure out how to raise the bar for next year because this year was fantastic.”

Everyone who attended the conference had their costs paid for by their respective communities which Currie said spoke to how the territory has embraced the conference.

“They see the importance of having their people there,” she said. “It's all about providing programs for the community and for the kids and they deserve it.”

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