The NWTRPA is committed to supporting community members in getting on the land. We believe that spending time on the land is vital for building and strengthening healthy minds, bodies, families, and communities. Colonial policies, including residential schools, sought to remove Indigenous peoples from their territories and break their connection with the land. On the land programs are an important part of revitalizing cultures, languages, and traditions.
In 2018, on the land leaders and mental health professionals gathered to discuss challenges in delivering land-based programming. A theme that emerged was that even as the land is vital to wellbeing, on the land programs in the NWT are led and attended by people who have experienced complex trauma and it is not uncommon for people leading on the land programs to encounter challenging situations, including people experiencing distressing emotions or mental health challenges. The group agreed that creating a made-in-NWT training program to enhance the capacity of land-based programmers to respond to these situations was critical. Supporting Wellbeing was created to address this need.
“I love sharing the origin story of our project because it demonstrates that this exists because community asked it to exist,” said Rachel Cluderay, Supporting Wellbeing Project Director. “It comes completely out of community need, and not us imposing this program on people.”
Supporting Wellbeing has grown quickly since its inception, and a flexible, four-day curriculum has been developed. Post-pilot training evaluations and interviews found that participants not only drew useful skills they could apply to their own programs but also passed those skills on to those around them.
As the Supporting Wellbeing Project continued to grow, the Steering Committee made the recommendation to the NWTRPA Board of Directors that the administrative host be changed and become its own project on the MakeWay’s shared platform to allow for more autonomy and agency. As the program leaves the NWTRPA and transitions to its own MakeWay Project, Supporting Wellbeing also looks to expand into Nunavut and the Yukon.
“We were thrilled about the positive reaction from communities and impact of Supporting Wellbeing, the NWTRPA will continue to be an advocate for ‘made-in-the-North’ solutions to fill gaps in recreation and on the land programs.” Sheena Tremblay, Executive Director shares.
The NWTRPA would like to congratulate Supporting Wellbeing and wishes Project Director, Rachel Cluderay, great success. We will continue our relationship with Supporting Wellbeing and look forward to having our On the Land Programs Consultant attend upcoming training in the fall.
The NWTRPA works with people leading and supporting land-based programs to identify and deliver relevant training opportunities that support the whole person (i.e. physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing). The NWTRPA is an authorized provider of wilderness and remote first aid courses, and Paddle Canada courses. Learn more about our On the Land Program Support here.