Recreation North’s Model for Training in Northern and Rural Communities

Last month, NWTRPA Executive Director Geoff Ray, and Recreation North Project Lead Caroline Sparks attended the Framework for Recreation in Canada Forum- Gathering Strength in Regina, Saskatchewan. The two were there to represent Recreation North and to deliver a presentation on the Community Recreation Leadership Program (CRLP), which just completed its pilot year at the end of April.  More than 50 recreation practitioners from across Canada were keen to learn how Recreation North had successfully utilized public, non-profit and private sector collaboration to provide high‐quality, relevant recreation training delivered in under‐resourced, rural, and remote regions.

Caroline and Geoff started the presentation with few northern trivia questions before presenting the principles underlying the program’s efforts to enhance individual, community, and environmental wellbeing by strengthening recreation leadership. The presentation went on to say that Recreation North works in ways that are:

  • Aligned with the Framework for Recreation in Canada and to the realities of Northern communities;
  • Collaborative between the territories and communities, and across sectors and the field of recreation;
  • Grounded in Northern experience, local culture and context, and Indigenous ways of learning;
  • Innovative, ensuring that training approaches and activities meet diverse needs; and
  • Relevant to Northern participants, workplaces, and communities.

The presentation went on to highlight the benefits of the program as expressed by participants during the Pilot. One participant commented, “The training was instrumental in learning how to do my new job.” Another mentioned, “The training helped me feel more confident in my role as a recreation programmer… and the online training was more convenient than leaving my community.” Others commented on the benefit of networking by explaining, “It is great to be connected to such a large community of people involved in recreation so that we can share ideas, wins, and help support each other when we get frustrated or burned out.”

Recreation North, a partnership of the territorial recreation and parks associations, developed and piloted the Community Recreation Leadership Program with funding from the Arctic Inspiration Prize.  Building on the successes of the pilot, the Community Recreation Leadership Program will be launched in the fall/winter of 2018. To find out more about the Program, follow Recreation North on, on Facebook or Twitter @recnorth, or check out Recreation North’s 2018 Forum presentation.