More than 100 youth in Inuvik, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk are spending three weeks this summer making slime, cooking pizza bannock and choreographing dances.

Brooke Smith, left, Rebecca Blakeston, Matt Skinner, Hayden Smith and Hailey Harrison read together at the IRC summer literacy camp.
Photo courtesy of Britney Selina

The Inuvialuit Summer Literacy Camp took place July 3 to 20 in all three communities for youth ages six to 12.

Britney Selina, regional youth outreach coordinator for the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC), organized the camp. Selina said the goal of the camp is to prevent summer learning loss in youth.

“We’re delivering fun and exciting literacy programs, outdoor activities and crafts to the kids,” she said. “The intention is to bridge that gap between the end of the school year and the next one, to prevent that summer learning loss that happens.”

IRC partnered with two literacy organizations to deliver the free camps – Frontier College and Actua.

Actua, a national charity, aims to prepare youth to become innovators and leaders by engaging them in science, technology, engineering and math experiences that are accessible and exciting.

Frontier College is a national literacy organization that works with volunteers and community partners to provide inclusive programming that will give people the skills they need to reach their potential.

Selina said this is the first time Frontier College has partnered with any organization in the Northwest Territories.

“Frontier College sent camp kits for each community which included more than 300 books, arts and crafts, sports equipment and games,” she said. “The camp staff have been working to come up with fun programming with the kits. Between the three communities, the staff have come up with a lot of creative and innovative new ideas to keep the kids engaged. It’s been really exciting to see that in the works.”

Selina said 10 Inuvialuit students were hired to staff the camp. She hopes the camp provides an opportunity for kids to realize that learning can be fun.

“We told them in the beginning, ‘we don’t want this to feel like school!'” said Selina. “It is all the fun aspects of school. That’s what we want to encourage. We want to make learning fun.”

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