2019 NWTRPA Award Winner: Davonna Kasook, Scott McAdam Youth Leadership Award
For over 20 years the NWTRPA Awards Program has been celebrating and recognizing recreation professionals and volunteers in northern communities for their efforts and achievements in promoting recreation and active living for all northerners. This feature of Davonna Kasook is the first in a series of profiles of the 2019 NWTRPA Award Winners. Davonna is the 2019 winner of the Scott McAdam Youth Leadership Award for her work in Inuvik, NT.
Davonna Kasook is an exceptional young person who supports her community in many ways. Her advocacy for improved mental health and wellness in her community has sparked conversations throughout the Beaufort Delta region, and inspired efforts to educate youth on mental health, wellness, and self-care.
Davonna used her position on the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation’s Regional Youth Advisory Group to be the voice of youth in Inuvik, bringing the issues and concerns of youth–along with their insights and solutions–to the IRC’s Board of Directors to review and consider.
As an active member of the Inuvik Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and Ground Search and Rescue—one of the very few locals involved with the organizations—Davonna is constantly trying to recruit friends, family members, and peers to join these volunteer organizations so they can build capacity with Indigenous and local people.
Whether she’s coaching young soccer players for Arctic Winter Games tryouts; preparing and cooking food for feasts at community events; volunteering as a linesmen, scorekeeper, or referee during regional volleyball, soccer, and basketball tournaments; or advocating for youth mental health initiatives, Davonna always puts community first.
Why is recreation important to you?
I think recreation is important because everyone deserves some time for enjoyment. Having time to partake in fun activities or sports when you’re not working or going to school is a good stress reliever, and a good way to wind down after a long (and sometimes hard) day and/or week. Everyone deserves to let loose and have a good time—recreational activities and events are the perfect opportunities to do so!
What are your favourite ways to stay active?
I love playing sports and hitting the gym! I try to get involved in as many sports as I can, when I can.
I recently had knee surgery so I’m temporarily out of commission, but keeping up with the gym and my physiotherapy is helping me stay active.
I enjoy taking my 3 dogs in the walking trails in and around town to help both myself and all of them to get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature. I also stay active by participating in a number of different things such as hiking, hunting, wood hauling and splitting, different training exercises I partake in through volunteer work—and basically any other activity that allows me to get moving and break a sweat!
What is one random fact about yourself?
I’m an adrenaline junkie.
What would be the hardest thing for you to give up for a week?
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
The power to heal the sick.