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Youth engagement in Inuvik is excellent

“Youth are the future.”
In my experience, this often-touted cliché is rarely so true as it is in Inuvik.

The youth I’ve had the chance to speak with in town are engaged, ambitious and enthusiastic.
They’re excited about the projects they’re working on and they’re happy to dedicate their
evenings and weekends to their causes. And the adults supporting them seem to tirelessly
empower youth initiatives.
This week, I spoke to the Inuvik Native Band Youth Council, a group of sixth graders who
started a newspaper, and the East Three Theatre Club, who are reviving the school’s dinner
theatre tradition.
I also watched as hundreds of youth came to school on Friday and Saturday to participate in the
annual basketball tournament – either as a player or an audience member. I also had the chance
to speak with some of the newly-minted Junior Canadian Rangers, who were really gung-ho.
Last week, I interviewed the Aurora Gay-Straight Alliance at East Three Secondary School, and
watched as tens of kids flocked to the curling club to take part in a curling tournament. I also had
the chance to interview Pearl Gillis, Inuvik’s 13-year- old curling star who won gold at the
Under-21 Mixed Doubles Canadian Curling Championships.
I know these anecdotes barely scratch the surface of the bounty of youth initiatives in Inuvik.
I’m impressed by their eagerness to participate and their keenness to get involved in the
community. Not only does it show the energy of Inuvik youth, but it also demonstrates the high
value put on youth involvement by adults and elders in the Inuvik community. Both of these are
important for successful youth engagement.
If youth are the future, Inuvik youth are charging at it full speed ahead, with the support and
advice from adults in the community.
I’m thrilled that the youth in this town are taking the opportunity to represent and speak for
themselves. These kinds of advocacy skills and willingness to get involved will prove to be of
upmost importance in their own futures as well as the future of Inuvik.
I think engaged youth beget engaged adults, and so the political, social, and economic future of
Inuvik is in good hands. When we empower youth to take initiative in productive ways, we teach
them that their ideas and projects are valuable and important. In turn, this leads to youth growing
into successful, contributing members of society.
So, let’s continue to champion youth initiatives in Inuvik.
According to 2016 data from Statistics Canada, youth made up approximately one-third of
Inuvik’s total population, and it is easy to see they are boldly making their mark on the town.