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2018 NWTRPA Award Winner Profile: Beth Hudson

 November 23, 2018
Posted by NWT Recreation and Parks Association

For over 20 years the NWTRPA, through our Awards Program, has been celebrating and recognizing recreation professionals and volunteers in northern communities for their continuing efforts and achievements in promoting recreation and active living for all northerners. This, the first in a series of profiles on the 2018 NWTRPA Award Winners, features Beth Hudson. Beth is the 2018 winner of the Innovation Award for her work in Fort Providence.

As a member of Play Around the World, a play-based organization from the University of Alberta, Beth was part of the first Canadian pilot project, called PAW North. She ran the programming and proved to the community, and to Play Around the World, that PAW North could be a successful, annual program in Fort Providence. Beth eventually moved to Fort Providence full-time to be the physical literacy coordinator, but also took on the duties of a recreation coordinator, gym teacher, and fitness instructor while running summer camps and events year-round. She introduced boot camp to the community and offered free wellness programs and fitness classes in the evenings. Beth’s programming was for all ages, from  preschoolers to adults.

Before she moved to Yellowknife to join the staff at the Aboriginal Sport Circle, Beth started the Athletic Excellence Program. The program, which she envisioned as an opportunity to build capacity and empower youth, filled an important gap left when the community’s recreation director left. Beth inspired junior and high school students to volunteer so recreation programming could continue. She arranged for the students to receive training in HighFive® and First Aid. She also brought youth to a regional recreation training where they became physical literacy instructors. Finding the money to create part-time jobs, the youth eventually became recreation assistants, library assistants, and tutors. She inspired them to do big things and taught them that they could make a difference.

Beth changed how recreation was done in Fort Providence. Even though she has moved away, she has had a lasting impact. Community members of all ages are embracing active and healthy lifestyles, and wanting to continue to be involved.

Recently, we got in touch with Beth to ask her a few questions and help everyone get to know her even better. Here’s what she had to say!

Why is recreation important to you?

Recreation is important to me because of how vital it is for my holistic well-being. My physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health as an Indigenous person has been rooted so heavily in my ability to participate in different recreational activities and find a connection to my culture, my wellness, and my identity. Recreation has been life saving for me, and my greatest passion is helping other Indigenous youth experience the positive benefits of being active and making healthy choices.

What are your favourite ways to stay active?

I love playing soccer, walking my dog, going for hikes with friends, badminton, table tennis, working out, and helping others have fun being active! I love coaching and being a personal trainer in my “free time” – it helps me stay motivated!

What is one random fact about yourself?

I skipped grade 3 because I was too competitive during reading time and mad math minute time… and was suddenly way too far ahead of my grade level.

What would be the hardest thing for you to give up for a week?

Work and school. Recreation helps me keep balance in my life when all I want to do is keep forging ahead in my professional and academic life! Without recreation I would burn out immediately, that’s for sure. I value my time with the Aboriginal Sports Circle NWT, BreakAway Fitness, and the University of Alberta more than anything else (besides my dog!) and I just want to do my very best and work hard for them!

If you could have any superpower what would it be?

The ability to clone and de-clone myself whenever needed. I always bite off more than I can realistically chew! Somehow I always get it done, but having some extra hands and bodies would be so helpful!

Nominate someone for a 2019 NWTRPA Award! Nominations close, July 15, 2019.

To learn more about our Awards Program and past award winners, click here.