If someone turned around and gave you a $20,000 all-terrain vehicle for free, would you turn it down?

The Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut (RPAN) certainly didn’t when it was gifted a Can-Am Defender courtesy of Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) late last month. It was part of BRP’s Can-Am For A Cause initiative, where the company chooses five organizations around the country to receive one of the vehicles as a donation.

Rob Strutz of Iqaluit, RPAN’s president, accepted the donation and in a video presentation, said being nominated was honour enough.

“We’re very excited to be chosen as a winner,” he said.

Everything began with Can-Am dealers around the country to submit an organization or group it felt worthy of receiving one of the vehicles and why. According to BRP, approximately 60 nominations came forward and from that group came the five which would eventually be selected.

The other winners this year included Fredericton, N.B.; Thetford Mines, Que.; Uxbridge, Ont.; and Grande Prairie, Alta.

The North West Company was who nominated RPAN and the manager of its Iqaluit location of NWC Motorsports, Andrew Depledge, said the relationship between the company and RPAN has gone on for several years.

“The way they help our communities and get youth involved in sports programs has just been fantastic for the North and we look for any opportunity we can to help them out,” he said.

He also said RPAN being chosen was a great way to be able to promote the product and help out a worthy cause at the same time.

So what will RPAN do with its new vehicle?

Strutz said it will be a big help, first and foremost, with transportation.

“It’s a six-seater, so we can ferry our youth leaders and our volunteers from venue to venue as needed,” he said. “With the cargo (hold), we can take any equipment we need.”

Strutz also said he realizes how important having recreational opportunities are for youth around the territory.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, the benefits of quality physical activity and healthy living is very important,” he said. “Hopefully, the youth that go through our programs will then, in turn, give back to their communities.”

Depledge said he hopes the new vehicle will make a difference in what RPAN can do going forward.

“If having the Defender can mean RPAN is able to bring one more volunteer or one more kid to a sporting event, it’ll make all the difference,” he said.

The vehicle is currently being stored in Iqaluit.

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