An event such as the 2017 Canada Summer Games requires plenty of man-power, and while Winnipeggers were quick to rise to the challenge and volunteer, they weren’t the only ones. Even more help was trickled down from further up north when the North-West Terretories Youth Ambassadors Program (NWT YAP) decided to send 23 of its participants to assist.
NWTYAP began during the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse; all three territories had created their own ambassador program in order to properly showcase The North during the Games, and the NWT have continued to run the program every year since. The NWT YAP is a government funded program that allows youths between the ages of 16 and 24 from all over the NWT to volunteer at major territorial, national, and international events – with all expenses paid by the program. In the past, the program has sent ambassadors to the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics, as well as the North American Indigenous Games.
Dawn Moses, one of the program managers, commented that there is a lot of personal growth and confidence gained during these trips (especially since most of the youths have never travelled.) The selected amabassadors get to experience different cities and cultures, and this time, were even offered the opportunity to share their own culture during the Canada Games Fesival Northern Territories night. Dawn said that the youth loved sharing their culture, and were impressed by the crowd they drew and the interest the audience showed.
But the program aims to do more than just be a fun time; it also seeks to challenge the youth. So, in an effort to offer them some real-life exercises, the ambassadors are given set amount of meal cards, which they must budget for the entirety of the trip, and are responsible for managing their own schedules. This system allows the participants more freedom and independence; which they take full advantage of! While we were scouring through the program’s Facebook page, it became clear that the youth are enjoying themselves in Winnipeg and have had the opportunity to explore many of the city’s great attractions.
If you would like to read more about the program and some of the youth’s stories, go check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NwtYouthAmbassadors/
And to Dawn and her ambassadors, on belaf of the 2017 Canada Summer Games, we thank you for your assitance and we wish you all the best!