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Summer fun in Rankin
Programming promises good times for all in community

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Youth of all ages in Rankin Inlet will be able to avail themselves of a wide range of activities this summer, thanks to the programming efforts of the Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre and the hamlet's recreation department.

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Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre executive director George Dunkerley and his young son, Mason, enjoy an afternoon barbecue to kick off the centre's summer programming in Rankin Inlet this past month. - photo courtesy of Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre

The friendship centre continues to focus attention on trying to offer substantial summer programming for youth, despite dealing with an ever-shrinking budget from which to work with.

Pulaarvik held a barbecue to kick off its summer programming this past month.

Executive director George Dunkerley said the centre's funding is restricted this summer, and efforts are also being hampered by crucial staff changes that have taken place recently.

He said Pulaarvik's residential school program - which usually employs four students full time - will not be able to employ students this summer because an expected funding increase did not materialize.

"We'll be hiring summer students in the library, as well as in our main office," said Dunkerley.

"Hopefully, that will allow us to give some youths a bit of experience in office management and those types of skills.

"We're also in the planning stages right now to - somewhere between mid-August to mid-September - be able to offer an on-the-land program for elders and youths.

"The program will be similar to what we ran years ago under our youth program banner."

The elders-and-youth program will consist of either two or three weeks of activities, depending on how long the funding lasts.

A group of youths will be selected to team up with elders and spend time at a number of hunting camps the centre has situated out on the tundra.

Dunkerley said the youths will learn traditional methods of hunting and storing meat during the program.

He said they will also be exposed to other traditional skills during their time with the elders.

"This program was extremely popular with both elders and youths years ago.

"We were averaging about 400 youths going through the program every year when we had to shut it down.

"We won't have any students helping out at the youth centre this summer due to budget constraints.

"But the centre's new manager, Sam Kavik, has some great ideas, so we won't really be missed there."

Hamlet recreation co-ordinator David Clark will be splitting his time between programming and maintenance this summer.

The hamlet's biggest undertaking is its annual day camp, held for kids aged five to 12 through the youth centre.

Clark said he's been hearing nothing but solid reviews from both parents and kids since the camp began this past month.

He said the program runs all summer and the hamlet hires a group of students to help run the camps.

"We're doing some maintenance and upgrading to our baseball diamond and soccer field, and we're putting a new basketball court in at Victor's Playground," said Clark.

"It will be 46-by-78 feet, with a new concrete base and a Flex Court surface on top.

"It will also have NBA-style backboards, so it's going to look really nice when it's completed.

"Actua (Science Camp) are also here running a science camp out of the community hall this week."

Clark said the hamlet is also looking at hosting a soccer camp later this summer.

He said there shouldn't be too many youths who find themselves bored in Rankin this summer, unless they choose not to be involved with any of the programming.

"The soccer field is all ready up and running and it's been going non-stop since getting the green light.

"We're going to be doing various jobs there, including having the drainage improved to keep water from getting on it in the spring.

"And we're going to put in a dugout for the players.

"An adult soccer league is being put together for the summer, and we'll be doing soccer and softball programs for kids aged five to 15 once the basketball court is completed."

Another big event eagerly anticipated in Rankin is its first Summer Festival celebration.

The event is scheduled to take place from July 30 to Aug. 2.

Clark said big bouncy houses are being shipped for the event, which youths should love.

He said recreation has been hard at work planning ways to make the festival a really special event.

"We have contracts signed with a couple of different performers for the festival, but I'm not at liberty to release their names just yet.

"It's the first festival of its kind in Rankin and it's going to be a great event.

"Both the hamlet and Agnico Eagle put money into the festival, which Lori Tagoona will co-ordinate.

"So, we're going to be offering something for everyone with our summer programming this year."

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