Youth across the North Slave, South Slave and Deh Cho regions have until July 14 to register for the annual Mackenzie Youth Summer Games.

The games, which have been one of nine signature events put on by the Mackenzie Recreation Association throughout the year is set to take place in Hay River from July 19 to 23.

Lisa Moody, program coordinator for the association said that 20 communities are typically involved in the event and the association aims to attract eight young people from each.

The summer games are open to youth eight to 16 years old.

“Typically what we do is offer a variety of multi-sport activities camps and we rotate between different activities and participants in each community,” she said.

“We partner with recreational leaders and talk about what they would like to see done for recreation.”

Moody said that the week will include a mixture of sports and games and activities but that the whole purpose is to be as inclusive as possible for participants.

“It doesn’t matter what ability or skill level is with the kids, the point is to try different sports and see what they may like. Maybe they have never played a certain game before or done track and field or soccer. It gives them a way to try out different activities.”

Moody said that Hay River as the host town will be the first time the games will be held since it took place in Fort Smith in 2019.

At those games there were 102 participants which was an historically high number, she said. In some past years there have been as few as 42.

Last year the games weren’t even planned because of public health restrictions due to COVID-19, she noted.

As of July 7, Moody said her organization was still solidifying the schedule for activities and said she expected that there will be at least 14 activities for participants to look forward to.

She said she is looking forward to Hay River offering some of its “impressive facilities and extensive equipment and resources.

“The facilities we are planning on using are the Aurora Ford Arena and the recreation centre will be a big partner with us,” she said. “We will work with the town’s recreation department to put the games together.

“We will also probably be putting activities outside like the high school backfield and likely use the pool for swim to survive teaching with the kids.”

Town staff said they are looking forward to hosting participants and helping the Mackenzie Recreation Association offer quality programming.

“It is nice to see our facilities being showcased and used by youth and it is a good opportunity for youth in our community to have people from outside the area in friendly competition,” said recreation programmer Courtney Fraser.

Fraser said that while it won’t be the size and scope of the annual track and field championship but it will make good use of what the town has to offer.

“I’ve helped with some of the planning and some of the logistics for the week and we do have some kids from our Summer Heat camp that will be taking part.”

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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