Like all Nunavut communities, Clyde River’s population is growing. The median age in the community is just 21 years, and nearly 50% of the population is under age 20. Adolescence is a challenging period everywhere. In Clyde River, youth must deal with a lack of recreational activities, few public places to hang out in together, and a shortage of work opportunities. Additionally, they struggle with the problem of suicide; every teen in Clyde River has friends and relatives who have committed suicide, and many teens and young adults worry about how to counsel peers with suicidal thoughts or feelings. Offering meaningful programs and activities for youth is thus critically important, and Ilisaqsivik strives to meet this need in a variety of ways. In addition to our ongoing counselling opportunities, we offer the following programs for youth:
Drop-In – Ilisaqsivik runs a youth drop-in program on Friday – Wednesday evenings from 7 -10. We have snacks, computers, games, movie nights, guitar lessons, youth counselors, and we offer a cooking class for youth two nights a week. Our youth drop-in is the only community space dedicated to providing a regular, safe hang-out spot for teens and young adults. Drop-in is staffed by two Youth Workers, who work with the Wellness Counsellor and Counselling Elder to learn appropriate mentoring, listening, and referral skills. In addition, our Wellness Counsellor and Counselling Elder regularly visit the Youth Drop-In to conduct alcohol and drug awareness, depression, and suicide prevention workshops.
Hip Hop – In 2006, we partnered with the Ottawa-based Blueprint for Life to offer youth outreach and support through hip hop. After Blueprint’s week-long visit to the community, hip hop became a regularOur innovative hip hop program integrates Inuit cultural practices like drum dancing, offers skill-building opportunities and peer and adult support, and teaches about healthy lifestyle choices like avoiding cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.
Land-Based Programming – Ilisaqsivik runs several on-the-land programs each year that focus on youth. The Father/Son Program offers male youth opportunities for mentorship in land skills from experienced hunters and elders. The Qimmivut Program gives youth introduces Clyde River youth to Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) through dog teaming and land-based hunting and camping trips facilitated by experienced mushers, hunters, and elders. Depending on funding and guidance from our board, we often run additional land-based programs for youth.
Youth Leadership – Nearly every year, Ilisaqsivik organizes week-long, regional youth leadership programs. In the past, these programs have focused either on hip hop or film and media. In March, 2011, we helped to organize a Nunavut-wide workshop in Pond Inlet for 35 youth leaders from four Nunavut communities. The workshop used hip hop as a way to engage youth, and mixed intense dance (physical activity) with talks about healthy lifestyle choices (ie choosing good foods, not smoking, physical fitness, etc.).
Inuit Youth Summer Work Experience Program – Ilisaqsivik hires three students age 16 – 24 work for a full-time summer position each year. Students are paired with a mentor and placed in a job according to their interests. In 2011, these youth trainee positions included Janitor Assistant, Children’s Worker, and Assistant Recreation Coordinator.
Youth Committee – [Check back soon for more information]