So to answer your question about what to do for summer, the Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut (RPAN) has a potential answer for you.
The Get Happy Summer Day Camp, operated by RPAN, is back for its eighth consecutive year and it’s back to as normal as it can be following two years of pandemic changes. A total of 14 communities are taking part this year with Kugluktuk and Whale Cove being the first two to get going on June 20. Nine others will start on June 27 and the final three following the Canada Day long weekend.
Kinngait is new to the program this year along with Pangnirtung, while Clyde River, Arctic Bay and Sanirajak, three communities that were part of the pilot program in 2015, are returning for an eighth straight year. The camp is open to youth between the ages of five and 12.
The 2022 edition began earlier this month with in-person training in Iqaluit from June 6 to 9, the first such gathering since 2019.
Dawn Currie MacKinnon, RPAN’s executive director, said 86 youth leaders between the ages of 15 through 21, plus one supervisor per community, converged on the capital to get acquainted with what’s included in the program and to make sure they’re fully certified in everything they need.
“They all passed First Aid and CPR training, no one failed,” she said. “We had some sessions on how to plan certain activities and for certain ages. The attention span of a five-year-old is different from a 10-year-old, so we wanted to make sure we had age-appropriate activities.”
Each community will plan out their own days, she added, with different games, crafting and outdoor activities among the daily planning.
“We have an area on (the RPAN) website with ideas for all of the leaders, which gives them suggestions and opportunities to try something,” she said. “There’s also the opportunity to trade ideas between communities.”
Something else which is returning is the Funday Friday Summer Day Camp Challenge, a competition where all participating communities do their best to try and have as much camper participation as possible in a themed event. The first of those days will be on July 8 and it will continue for four straight Fridays.
“One day, we’ll have them do a scavenger hunt, we’ll have them do Arctic sports another day, a relay race one day,” said Currie MacKinnon. “The idea is to have as much participation as possible in each community.”
While everything may be in fun, there is some money up for grabs, she added.
“There’s over $10,000 in cash for communities to put back into their programming,” she said. “We want the communities to post what they did on Facebook with all of the information about who’s taking part and what they’re doing.”
Each community will run its programming for between four and six weeks and Currie MacKinnon said most communities will wrap things up on Aug. 12.
But it all depends on when school starts back up in each community.
“The communities that finish on the 12th, they’re going back into class in Aug. 15,” she said. “A couple of communities will go right to the end of August, so it’s a staggered finish.”