The NWTRPA and Youth Centres Conference is an opportunity for recreation leaders, health care staff, students, youth, Elders, youth centre staff, and volunteers from across the territory to explore trends and issues in recreation and receive training related to programming, leadership, and facility management.
The NWTRPA is celebrating a number of important milestones this year, so naturally we’ve been reflecting on where we’ve come from, but also where we’re headed as an organization and as a sector. Established in 1989, the NWTRPA is now 30 years young. 2019 also marks the 10th anniversary of Elders in Motion, and in January, NWT residents will “Walk to Tuk” for the 10th time.
Two years ago, the NWTRPA and Youth Centres Conference was held in Inuvik. At pre-conference meetings, the NWTRPA Board and staff were gifted with hats and t-shirts celebrating the Gwich’in Tribal Council’s 25th anniversary. Below the anniversary logo were the words, “Yi’eenoodài’ Yeendoo Gwizhit Gwitèe’ah,” which translates to “Long ago will be in the future.”
We were reminded of the Gwich’in Elders’ words as we began preparations for the 2019 conference. They acknowledge the ways in which colonialism has disrupted relations with the land, language, and culture, impacting Indigenous communities, families, and individuals in countless ways. But they are also a powerful demonstration of the resiliency of Indigenous people and communities, and a reminder of the importance of the past and the old ways to healthy and vibrant futures.
Inspired by this thinking, our conference theme for 2019 is Back to the Future. Back to the Future invites conference delegates and presenters to reflect on recreation, past and present, but also to consider how recreation is and could be part of strengthening our families and communities in the future. Back to the Future builds on the work of our last two conferences, which focused on decolonization and reconciliation, and intergenerational connections, respectively. We look forward to continuing conversations about recreation and reconciliation, health and healing, and connecting across the generations begun in Inuvik and Yellowknife with you in Hay River.
We are planning a program that includes inspiring, educational, and fun keynotes, plenaries, and activities. We will have three sessions in each of the four streams: Elders in Motion, On the Land, Recreation Leadership, and Youth. Based on the very positive feedback we received about “speed dating,” which was new to the programme last year, this session will again be part of the conference. And we’re not making any promises, but rumour has it that birthdays are best celebrated with cake!
We hope that the 2019 conference is a space of learning, growth, and connection for you. Thank you for joining us this year.
The Conference Committee