Sprouting seeds, yoga and children’s games might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sports, but free lessons on those and many more wellness activities have been offered through Aboriginal Sport Circle NWT (ASCNWT) over the last month and continue to be so.
Here in Inuvik, Community Greenhouse executive director Ray Solotki hosted a workshop on sprouting seeds using household items ranging from cardboard egg cartons to old pantyhose on April 30. On the same day, eager students could also take a lesson in jigging taught by Olga Steen. On others, boxing lessons with John Stanley, bodyweight high intensity interval training Riane Patterson or up to three different styles of yoga were at people’s fingertips.
“I was approached a few weeks ago to offer some activities for people in the NWT to do via Zoom,” said Solotki. “We are thinking of offering these through the summer, so this was a good trial.”
To participate, all that is needed is an internet connection, a microphone and Zoom. ASCNWT event manager Jordee Reid said the idea to host online workshops evolved naturally through the way the organization already operates across the spread-out territory.
“Our mandate is to establish healthy, active, and culturally connected communities and during this time, mental health takes a much more prominent role,” she said. “So that’s what we’re looking for when reaching out for people to run workshops – Will it keep people active? Will it improve people’s mental health? Will it connect people to Indigenous culture?
“We meet twice a week via zoom, as we are all working from home, and when that first began in the middle of March we were discussing what programming should look like now and what people might need during this time. This idea came up and we ran with it. We started with a two week ‘pilot’ and have now moved past and are starting our third week of workshops. Another aspect to this idea was to help out northern businesses in this small way.”
Links to the weekly lessons are listed on ASCNWT’s website. Many of the lessons are recorded and freely available on their YouTube channel and Facebook page. On top of the workshops, how-to videos to train in traditional Northern Games skills such as two-foot high kick, triple jump, snow snake and swing kick.
Normally, ASCNWT runs targeted community programs, with a program in a different community every other week. The organization also puts together TeamNT for the North American Indigenous Games, which they would be doing right now under normal circumstances.
In the interim, Reid said the plan is to continue hosting online workshops for as long as the need is there and said anyone who feels they have wisdom to share should sign up.
“At this time we are looking for anyone who is interested running a workshop to contact any of our staff – whether through email, phone, or social media,” she said. “We are already trying to plan the next month of programming and are actively looking for partnerships. You don’t have to have your own business – you can just be a knowledge holder and eager to teach!”