A Pilot of the Community Recreation Leadership Program began in October 2017. Since that time, individuals from communities across the NWT, Yukon, and Nunavut participated in a variety of learning events delivered by Northern trainers. Laurel Irving from Behchoko, NT is one of those northerners to earn her Certificate in Northern Recreation Leadership through the Community Recreation Leadership Program. Recently, Laurel shared a bit about her experience.
My name is Laurel Irving and I am the Continuing Care Manager for the Tlicho Community Services Agency based in Behchoko, NT. In 2005, stepping off the plane in Yellowknife for my first time in the North, I felt an immediate connection with the landscape, the interesting cultures, and the Northern people. After doing community health nursing stints in Baffin and the Beaufort-Delta, I settled down to focus on home care, long-term care, and supportive living programs, with a special interest in Elder’s issues.
At first I wasn’t sure if the Community Recreation Leadership Program would be a meaningful fit for me as most of the participants were involved in youth and adult recreation while my focus is on Elder care. However, the connections and group discussions were helpful and gave me a sense of being part of a bigger community. Awareness of Northern culture and issues is a huge bonus of this program. Traditional foods, camp life, and sense of community life were understood and explored while culturally-relevant programming was encouraged.
The Learning Events on program planning, marketing, and risk management were particularly useful to me as our staff were preparing to start a second Elder’s Day Program and a Foot Care Program, and are developing fitness and falls prevention programs for Elders in the Tlicho region. We were able to implement some of the planning tools provided in those Learning Events immediately!
The availability of this type of training program by way of a laptop, in the form of recorded teleconferences that were easy to access at any time of day, provides flexibility and broadens the opportunities for training of community recreation staff. I am pleased to have been part of the Pilot and encourage others in my region to take this program as well.
Well done Recreation North!