Volunteering in the Northwest Territories has long been recognized by the territorial government as a critical part of civic life.

The board of the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games was recognized on May 24 in Yellowknife with an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the GNWT. At the presentation were, left to right, Fort Smith’s Kevin Smith, the vice-president of the board; Greg Rowe, president; Eleanor Young, deputy minister of the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, making the presentation of a framed porcupine quill picture; and director Jason Coakwell.
NNSL file photo

The Department of Municipal and Cultural Affairs (MACA) is once again hosting an awards ceremony May 30 at the Great Hall of the Legislative Assembly to showcase Northerners who give their time freely in service of their communities. The awards, which are administered by the department’s sports and recreation division, are now in their 28th year. The government has been recognizing people who give up their free time to serve their communities since 1991.

Ashley Gillis, MACA’s manager of youth and volunteer leadership, said the government is hoping for more nominations than last year. As of last week, there were 25 nominees.

It varies from year to year and this year we have about 25 nominations with about a week and a half left to go,” she said.

Anybody (can be nominated) that steps up in their community. It can be anyone from a hockey coach to somebody who helps out with community dinners.”

Winners each receive a porcupine quill framed artwork and a $500 cheque to donate to an organization of the recipient’s choice.

Gillis said nominations have been open since February and run until April 12, however, people can submit nominees of people pretty much throughout the year. Awards this year will go to four categories that include youth (under 25), individual (for people 25 to 54-years-old), elder, and a group division, for groups such as non-profits.

There were 11 nominees in total last year, which is a lower than normal, Gillis said.

Last year we had lower intake but we do publish all nominees in the paper,” Gillis said, adding that recognition is a big point of the awards and their history. “Often in small communities, especially, volunteers don’t get the recognition that they deserve. Our goal is to recognize hard working volunteers and make sure they don’t go unnoticed.”

Previous winners of GNWT volunteer awards

2018 — Michael Kaodloak, Ulukahaktok (NWT Outstanding Youth Award); Ryan Fequet, Yellowknife (NWT Outstanding Individual Award); Helena Tutcho, Deline (NWT Outstanding Elder Award); 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games committee ((NWT Outstanding Group Award)

2017 — Sudhir Kumar Jha, Yellowknife, and Ryan Fequet, Yellowknife (NWT Outstanding Individual Award); Food Rescue, Yellowknife (NWT Outstanding Group Award); Sheila O’Kane, Inuvik (NWT Outstanding Elder Award); Nigel Koplomik, Uluhaktuk (NWT Outstanding Youth Award)

2016 — Dave Kellett, Yellowknife (NWT Outstanding Elder Award); Leona Berreault, Fort Liard (NWT Outstanding Youth Award); K’amba Carnival committee, K’atlodeechee First Nation (NWT Outstanding Group Award); Charlene Blake, Tsiigehtchic (NWT Outstanding Individual Award)

2015 — Marilyn Napier, Fort Smith (NWT Outstanding Individual Award); Muskrat Jamboree committee, Inuvik (NWT Outstanding Group Award); Florence Barnaby, Fort Good Hope (NWT Outstanding Elder Award); Renee Ekendia, Behchoko (NWT Outstanding Youth Award)

2014 — David Taylor, Yellowknife (NWT Outstanding Individual Award); NWT SPCA, Yellowknife (NWT Outstanding Group Award); Edward Oudzi, Norman Wells, Margaret Miller, Inuvik (NWT Outstanding Elder Award); Thomas Norbert, Tsiigehtchic (NWT Outstanding Youth Award)

Source: 25th Anniversary NWT Outstanding Volunteer Award Recipients report

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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