Grants

Northern Youth Forum

October 2017

The whole group

Crystal Mitchell-Ochoktoonooak (14), from Taloyoak, Nunavut, participated in a week-long Youth Forum organized by Northern Youth Leadership, focused on “Connecting Northern Youth to the Community, Culture, and the Land.” Fourteen youths, boys and girls, from right across the North, gathered in Yellowknife to spend the week in camp at the Yellowknife Dene First Nation Weledeh Site, a short drive from town. There were workshops on traditional medicines and the importance of Indigenous languages and traditions. The youths built a teepee, learned to fillet and dry fish, build a fire and start it with flint and steel, set snares and catch fish in a net, and shared stories and insights from their respective homelands. And during the camp, everybody sewed a pair of sealskin mitts, making new friends along the way.

Crystal (centre) sewing mitts

Crystal cleaning fish


Encounters with Canada

September 2017

Taloyoak 3 - (l to r) Howard Panigayak, Melissa Alookee, Darren Alookee

Melisa Alookee (17), Darren Alookee (15), and Howard Panigayak (17), all from Taloyoak, travelled down to Ottawa, to participate in a week-long national program designed to introduce high school students to their peers from across Canada and to their nation’s capital. The youths selected the week with a theme of “Sports & Fitness.”

Click here for more information about Encounters with Canada.

Canoe Trip – Algonquin Park, Ontario

July - August 2017

Andrew Anavilok (14) and Daryl Taptoona (15), both from Cambridge Bay, joined an Outward Bound Canada 10-day canoe trip in Algonquin Park’s back-country. On their way, they spent four days in the Gatineau hills, outside Ottawa – seeing the Nation’s capital and learning some basic canoeing skills – before they headed north to join the other youth participants.

After the trip, Daryl wrote: “It has been so much fun … we canoed over 80 kilometres altogether. I want to say thank-you Ayalik Fund!”

21 Daryl (left) and Andrew

Andrew

Daryl

Studying the map

The group in camp

New friends


Brigantine St. Lawrence II – Sailing Quebec City to Halifax

July – August 2017

Ethan Kaiyogana (18) and Robert Taptoona (16) travelled from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut to Ottawa initially, and then on to Quebec City where they joined the tall-ship St. Lawrence II, operated by Brigantine Inc. Over the next two weeks, together with a dozen other youths from Canada and the US, they sailed the ship as working hands for the 1000-nautical-mile voyage to Halifax and Cape Breton.

During the trip, Ethan had this to say: “I couldn’t be more thankful to the Ayalik Fund for taking me here, [to] places not a lot of people are able to go – this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I feel more confident that I can go to different places now.”

A short video of Ethan talking about his experiences will be posted here soon.

Ethan at the helm

Robert high up the mast furling sail

Ethan on deck

Robert and some crew-mates

Ethan on bowsprit

St. Lawrence II


Canoe Trip – Great Slave Lake, NWT

July 2017

Eric Amagonalok

Eric Amagonalok (r)

Eric Amagonalok (13), from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, participated in a Northern Youth Leadership boys-only canoe trip on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake, 130 kilometres from north to south, arriving in Yellowknife at midnight on Day 8. The boys practiced paddling and camping skills, learned from a Dene elder who joined the group, and enjoyed the experience of sharing a wilderness adventure with new friends from across the North. They fished, and swam, and picked berries, played games and cooked, endured some bad weather, and laughed together – all part of learning to work in a group.

Rocky Mountain Treks

July 2017
Dwayne “Ozzy” Innukshuk (18) and Trevor “Nanuk” Anawak (16), both from Rankin Inlet, joined a 10-day Outward Bound Canada trek in the Rocky Mountains. A very challenging hike from the foothills up into the mountains, with heavy packs, the boys learned to depend on each other and the importance of working as a cohesive group.

Ozzy crossing a glacial river beside camp

The whole group, high in the mountains


August 2017

Eekeeluak Avalak (13), from Cambridge Bay, accomplished a 10-day Outward Bound Canada trek in the Rocky Mountains. After returning home, he wrote to say: “This trip was a life-changing experience for me” and asked if he could go back again the next year, for a longer trek in the mountains.

A weary group of hikers

Eekee and a new friend

Eekeeluak Avalak


Gana River Camp – Mackenzie Mountains, NWT

June-July 2017

Jill Avalak (13), from Cambridge Bay, participated in a Northern Youth Leadership traditional skills wilderness camp program in the remote and scenic Mackenzie Mountains, west of Norman Wells, NWT. She flew to Yellowknife, then joined a group of Dene and Inuvialuit girls for eight days of camping, hiking, canoeing, swimming, learning traditional land skills from elders, and so much more. During discussion groups, they talked about sexual health, consent, bullying, and other important issues for young teenagers. Each girl sewed a pair of traditional Dene rabbit fur mitts.


Jill Avalak (right) in the three-legged race

Jill Avalak (right)


Winter Camp – Detah, NWT

March 2017



Chloe Kilaodluk (12) & Kyla Komatsuit (13), from Cambridge Bay, flew to Yellowknife to join a Northern Youth Leadership camp involving Dene and Inuvialuit girls from across NWT. During their week in camp, the girls enjoyed a full program of new exciting activities: fishing through the ice (with great success!), preparation of traditional medicines, ptarmigan hunting, preparation of caribou skins, beading, cross-country skiing (with former Olympian Sharon Firth), traditional games, yoga, snowshoeing, and evenings of personal exploration through group discussion around the campfire. “I would love to come again,” said Chloe after the camp. And Kyla added: “Another camp? Yes!”

Chloe Kilaodluk (left) & Kyla Komatsuit

Chloe Kilaodluk with ptarmigan

Kyla Komatsuit scraping caribou hide

Kyla Komatsuit jumping for joy!



Encounters with Canada

March 2017



Candace Hiqiniq & Sheridan Kamookak, two Inuit youths age 14 from Gjoa Haven, travelled down to Ottawa, to participate in a week-long national program designed to introduce high school students to their peers from across Canada and to their nation’s capital. The girls selected the week with a theme of “Medicine & Health.” To watch a short (two-minute) video of the girls, click on the video above.

Click here for more information about Encounters with Canada.

Sheridan Kamookak (left) & Candace Hiqiniq in Ottawa



Traditional Drum Camp - Fort Simpson, NWT

October 2016



Corbyn Kavanna-Klengenberg and Dylan Evetalegak, both 14, from Cambridge Bay, participated in a Northern Youth Leadership traditional drum camp with a group of Dene and Inuvialuit youth. Each participant made his own drum and learned about the role of the drum in northern culture.”

Corbyn working on his drum

Dylan working on his drum



Encounters with Canada

September 2016

Nathaniel Anaittuq (left) and Michael Calvin Aqilriaq, both 14, from Gjoa Haven, Nunavut

Two Inuit youths from Gjoa Haven -- the first Ayalik Fund students from Gjoa Haven -- travelled down to Ottawa, to participate in a week-long national program designed to introduce high school students to their peers from across Canada and to their nation’s capital.

For more information about Encounters With Canada, click here

The whole group of students from across Canada


Canoe Trip – Algonquin Park, Ontario

July–August 2016

Erika(left) & Annie at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto


Erika MacPherson Otokiak (16) and Annie Aktologaknak Haongak (15), both from Cambridge Bay, joined an Outward Bound Canada13-day canoe trip in Algonquin Park’s back-country. On their way to join the other youth participants, they spent a day in Toronto with an Outward Bound instructor, experiencing a big city for the first time, with visits to the CN Tower and the Royal Ontario Museum, before they headed north to Algonquin Park.

The funds to support Erika’s participation in this expedition were provided by the organizers and participants of the 2016 Wilderness & Canoe Symposium.

Click here to read the letters from Annie and Erika.

Annie (left) and Erika nearby Toronto’s CN Tower, en route to Algonquin Park

Annie (bow) and Erika (stern) on their canoe trip in Algonquin Park.

Annie at the end of a portage


Annie canoeing with a fellow camper

Erika proudly portaging her 70lb canoe

The whole team enjoying their day on the water


Canoe Trip – Great Slave Lake, NWT

July–August 2016

Ernestine in the bow of her canoe on Great Slave Lake.

Ernestine Lyall, 13, from Cambridge Bay, participated in a Northern Youth Leadership girls-only canoe trip on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake, from Behchokǫ to Yellowknife. She flew to Yellowknife, then joined a group of Dene and Inuvialuit girls for ten days of canoeing, camping, learning land-skills, hiking, swimming, and so much more. After this experience, Ernestine said that the biggest challenge for her was “being myself.”

Ernestine (front) with her new friends on the canoe trip



Sea-Kayak Expedition – Clayoquot Sound, BC

July 2016


Evik (left) and Robert doing some volunteer work during Cambridge Bay's spring clean-up as a way to earn their Ayalik Fund t-shirts for their upcoming summer trip.

Robert Taptoona and Evik Evetalegak, both 15 from Cambridge Bay, joined an Outward Bound Canada 13-day sea-kayak expedition on the west coast of Vancouver Island. On their way to join the other youth participants, they spent two days in Vancouver with an Outward Bound instructor, experiencing a big city for the first time.


Robert (left) and Evik exploring the beach in Vancouver, en route to joining their sea-kayak expedition in Clayoquot Sound.

Evik discovering a new sea creature - is it edible?

Evik showing his skills in a sea-kayak

Robert taking a break during a day on the water

The expedition team getting ready to depart



Gana River Camp – Mackenzie Mountains, NWT

June-July 2016

Carter Ehaloak and Roy Nanogak, both 13, from Cambridge Bay, participated in a Northern Youth Leadership traditional skills wilderness camp program in the remote and scenic Mackenzie Mountains, west of Norman Wells, NWT. The two boys flew to Yellowknife, then joined a group of Dene and Inuvialuit boys for eight days of camping, land skills, hiking, canoeing, swimming, learning traditional skills from elders, and so much more.
The two boys, Carter (orange t-shirt) and Roy (red ball cap) on top of a mountain – achieving new heights.

Carter (orange) and Roy (red) discovering lots of new things, including trees big enough to climb!

After this experience, Carter said that climbing a mountain was both the biggest challenge and his favourite part. Both boys said they would like to come back, and eventually participate in NYL’s “Leader in Training “ program. Afterward, Carter’s mother wrote to the Ayalik Fund to say: “Carter does not have opportunities to do things like this. Words cannot express how appreciative we are. He came back turned into a respectful young man. Thank you.”

Roy (left) and Carter swimming in the mountain lake.

Carter and Roy - their first time in a canoe

Roy (left) and Carter, back home in Cambridge Bay after their trip, proudly wearing their Ayalik Fund t-shirts.


Encounters with Canada

February 2016

Sebastian Hogaluk Malone, Lee Ann Ekpakohalok, Ethan Gillis-Kaiyogana (L to R)

Three Inuit youths, Sebastian Hogaluk Malone (15), Lee Ann Ekpakohalok (16), Ethan Gillis-Kaiyogana (16), from Cambridge Bay travelled down to Ottawa, supported by grants from the Ayalik Fund, to participate in a week-long national program designed to introduce senior high school students to their peers from across Canada and to their nation’s capital. We have heard back that the threesome “had a blast and that the trip really opened their eyes to another world!”

For more information about Encounters With Canada, click here

The Ayalik Fund's First Grants

August 2015

This summer, the Ayalik Fund’s first grants provided two Inuit youth with the experience of a lifetime on an expedition organized by Outward Bound Canada in the Rocky Mountains. To see the report from Outward Bound, click here. Shania Angohiatok and Ian Kavanna, both sixteen, flew from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut down south (for the first time!) to Calgary, where they joined other youths from across Canada and from London, England.

Ian Kavanna


Shania Angohiatok

Together, this diverse group of teenagers hiked through the wilderness foothills of the Rockies, carrying all their gear and food; they learned to work together and to meet their personal challenges during an arduous back-country adventure. Such an experience cannot fail to broaden horizons, to build self-confidence and self-esteem.


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