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Getting hot in Baker

Youth group, rec coordinator have May to remember
Baker Lake youth, from left, Amelia Haqpi, Mary Ikuutaq, Chloe Nakoolak, Vicky Nakoolak, Kassidy Tunguaq, David Kalluk and Scarlette Iksiktaaryuk perform at Meridian Hall near Toronto this past month. Photo courtesy Nathan Annanaut

May was a big month for new Baker Lake recreation director Nathan Annanaut.

Annanaut completed his recreation North training

leadership certificate program through the Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut this past month, and will now be after his management diploma this coming September, which is a little more in-debt than the original program, dealing more with management issues.

Annanaut said he found the Northern leadership certificate program very beneficial.

He said the program really taught him about the recreational field.

“I’ve never really been athletic, per say. I’ve always been heavy set or overweight my entire life. But I was always good with numbers, reports and filling out application forms and such.

‘“Our SAO, Sheldon Dorey, took a shine to me because I wanted to introduce outside sources of funding and I found rec North training very beneficial. It taught me everything I know so far in recreation, like the foundations, the structure, how Canada is structured around recreation from the federal level to the territorial, provincial and municipal levels and even all the way down to the youth athletic organizations.

“Anything that has to do with recreation, I feel that rec North training basically covered all the corners on every field that every rec co-ordinator should know. That’s what I believe anyway.

“I’m trying to add to Baker Lake society without sacrificing programs.”

Annanaut said he believes Baker Lake is at the forefront of a lot of activities right now. He said everyone always tells him that there’s lots of events taking place in Baker Lake and that has to do with volunteers, organizations and all the collaborative input from all there organizations. People try to work together to make our programming easier.

“In the past the rec co-ordinator used to do everything, like music, games, feast and promotions.

“Now we have other organizations helping out and contriputing. There’s a lot of stuff happening in Baker Lake right now, especially with Covid, the past few years there wasn’t much happening, so we feel we have a lot to make up for.”

Annanaut was also ready to secure funding for a different direction. He said Baker always send kids out into the world, but he felt it was time for a new direction.

He said you usually have to go to Hollywood, Boston, New York, Toronto or Vancouver to learn how to dance professionally.

“When I saw the opportunity to get funding through the wellness initiative to bring a professional dance choreographer up to Baker Lake to teach youth here modern dance, I jumped at it. I had this instructor Sebastian (Bash) Hirtenstein come up from the organization Outside Looking In. It’s an indigenous charity that helps aboriginal youth.

“At first we had 30 kids come out. Then it went down to 20 and then 10. The kids didn’t believe that they were really going to Toronto. Every time something happened in Baker Lake. Everything kept falling through, so nobody had any faith in it.

But I just kept pushing those kids, telling them they were going to Toronto. Just finish it. Anyway, after everything was said and done, seven of them, aged 13 to 15, ended-up going to Toronto.

“I got my youth co-ordinator, she’s just a young lady, Rachele Tagoona-Taparti to chaperon them and they spent two weeks in Camp Rock learning to dance with other indigenous communities.”

Annanaut said there were about 250 aboriginal kids learning to dance. After they were trained they performed on Meredian Hall, Canada’s largest soft seat theatre

“They danced on the stage with a 100-foot screen behind them. They worked so hard for this. The instructor came here 10 times over six weeks.

“They left for Toronto two moths ago and returned to Baker about two weeks ago. It was an incredible experience for them.”