Archived - Sprouts Day Camp, Iqaluit, Nunavut

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Using traditional Inuit practices to engage children in the learning of science, the Sprouts Day Camp in Iqaluit, Nunavut has been changing the lives of youths aged 7-15 for over 10 years. See how the Qikiqtani Inuit Association in partnership with Actua Canada promote education, cultural awareness and healthy lifestyles through this highly successful program.

Sprouts Day Camp: Promoting Education, Cultural Awareness and Healthy Lifestyles

Transcript: Sprouts Day Camp, Iqaluit


For centuries, Inuit families have moved through the tundra with the seasons developing a unique culture and way of life.

Today, this small, remote hamlet on the southwest tip of Baffin Island in Nunavut is Canada's newest capital city ... home to almost 7,000 people.

Welcome to Iqaluit and home to the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, or QIA. The QIA's Youth Department has thrived, developing and delivering successful programs that promote education, cultural awareness and healthy lifestyles.

It has welcomed partnerships that enrich the experiences it provides to its children.

The Sprouts Day Camp is a model program providing care, fun and education for Iqaluit's children throughout the summer.

The Sprouts Program started about 11 years ago and it was very small, it was five or six kids, and now we have nine full-time staff, we have a full- time cook. We have partners like Actua, who do, you know, amazing rich programming, other community partners and it's just really grown and flourished, and really blossomed as a program and it's become kind of a mainstay in Iqaluit.

Actua, a national charity, delivers a series of week-long summer day camps, through its Aboriginal Outreach Program . that engage youth in unique, innovative, and culturally relevant science, engineering and technology activities.

With the huge mineral, oil and gas potential of Nunavut, developing capacity in Science and Technology is critical . so that Nunavumiut can fully participate in Nunavut's development . and it all starts with the children.

The main goal of the program is to expose youth to possibilities that exist for them, to bring Science and Technology into their lives so that they understand that there are many opportunities for them down the road to further their studies, to further their career opportunities.

A full curriculum of fun hands-on science activity awaits the children each day:

They learn how arctic mammals keep warm through the insulation properties of blubber by making blubber mitts from household lard and immersing their hands in freezing water.

oh my is it cold ? very
what about this side ? it's warm"

They explore the properties of sound and discover how a Beluga whale hears, by making their own Beluga ears using spoons and string.

Traditional Inuit throat singing ,coupled with an oscilloscope helps explain sound waves and the kids see how their own voices create vibrations.

An outdoor scavenger hunt and hike employing GPS technology is the perfect springboard for a discussion about the inuksuk ... used by many generations of Inuit for guidance and orientation on the land.

An important component of Actua's camp delivery is the inclusion of graduates, as instructors, from the Nunavut Sivuniksavut Program, or NS.

Based in Ottawa, the NS is an eight-month college program for Inuit youth from Nunavut to prepare for educational and career opportunities that are being created through the new government of Nunavut.

I see that the kids see me as a role model, an Inuit role model . I've done presentations and told them that they could do the same things -- like graduate from high school . go further with their education ... get involved with the community ... help around ... do volunteering. I've shown them that I could do it and I told them that they could do the same things.

With its dedicated staff, positive role models, and special relationships with partners like Actua, the Qikqitani Youth Department is making great strides fostering a passion for Science and Technology.

And guiding the children of Iqaluit to make positive choices for their futures with a deep understanding of their heritage and identity.

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