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Update from the Conference Committee

The NWTRPA Conference is an opportunity for recreation leaders, on the land leaders, health care staff, students, youth, Elders, youth centre staff, and volunteers from across the territory to discuss trends and issues in recreation and on the land programs, and receive training related to programming and leadership.

The last conference we held was in 2019, where we celebrated many milestones: at our “Back to the Future” conference we celebrated both Elders in Motion and Walk to Tuk 10-year anniversaries, as well as the NWTRPA celebrating 30 years! The community of Hay River were wonderful hosts. 2020 unfortunately brought about a pandemic which couldn’t allow us to come together. Together with the rest of the world we had to adapt our approach and decided to offer virtual webinars throughout the year—ensuring some of our most popular Conference sessions were available, most notably Bright Spots. Our 2020 Bright Spots included the Dark Sky Festival, The 2020 Fun Run/Walk Challenge, and the Western Arctic Youth Collective. These programs showed their strength and resilience by finding alternate ways to continue with their programming during a challenging time in which recreation has become vital to peoples’ health and wellbeing.

We continue to hear stories of programs and individuals across the territory finding their strength, and being a light for communities during the challenging times that 2020 and 2021 have brought, and continue to bring. We have heard of many programs that were resourceful in adjusting at the start of the pandemic to provide virtual programming: from online music classes, community members receiving crafting packages, to virtual jigging competitions. And we see this strength continue during the devastating floods in several communities. Community members rally together to provide activities, nourishing food, water, and warmth, and support to many families that are displaced. What our communities have been through has not been easy, but one thing shining through is people coming together, building our strength, and lifting one another up through recreation and being on the land.

As we continue through a period of change and resilience, the NWTRPA continues to adapt to bring us one step closer to what would be a “normal” conference. This year our annual conference will focus on Celebrating Northern Strength. The 2021 conference will be hosted in Yellowknife, NT.

While we wish we could all be together for some large keynote sessions, the reality is that we want to be able to gather safely in-person. In accordance with the Chief Public Health Office, each of the conference events are limited to 25 people. We know that our streams of Elders in Motion, On the Land, and Recreation Leadership are all key training and educational opportunities for you. We also know that Bright Spots is a favourite. This year we made the decision to dedicate one day to each of these streams, plus an evening event to celebrate Bright Spots! This will allow you the opportunity to register for one or more streams (days).

We hope that the 2021 conference is a space of learning, growth, and personal connection for you. Thank you for joining us this year, as we all continue to display our strength in moving towards the future.


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