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Nunavut – A Volunteer Trip That's Beyond Cool!

How do you think you’d feel knowing that even before you graduated you had a direct impact on the health and wellness of an aboriginal community? 

Pretty good, right?

We’ll here’s your chance.

Next May, Humber is organizing its first ever 14-day service-learning trip to Arviat, Nunavut.

Humber will take ten students to this Inuit village to help community leaders set up, manage and sustain after-school programs; literacy games and activities; and sports and recreation programs.

This experience will be life-changing, believes Sherri Branscombe, a professor at Humber’s Recreation and Leisure Services and Sport Management programs, and the trip’s lead organizer.

“I think it will absolutely change students’ careers paths and expose them to things we can’t expose them to in the classroom,” she said. “This will open up their eyes to what other people in the world need.”

From Humber to Tundra

Located on the western coast of Hudson Bay, Arviat’s population is about 2,800.

It’s about 90 kilometres north of the tree line, so its landscape is flat tundra expanses stretching as far as you can see. But the surrounding area is rich in wildlife. Pods of beluga whales can be seen in nearby small bays. Thundering herds of migrating caribou are found inland and polar bears migrate along the coast.

Arviat also has a rich culture in arts. Prized sculptures and carvings made by Arviat artists are unique amongst the Inuit, using an extremely tough local stone. Highly skilled seamstresses produce sealskin clothing that’s popular across Nunavut.

A Community Centre That Needs Your Skills

In addition to all this culture, Arviat has been adding facilities to the Arviat Sports Park and there is a great opportunity to design and implement programs and services based on the community needs.

“Our students have this expertise and our plan is to train and certify their staff, and also to train their older youth so that they can sustain the programs once we leave,” said Sherri.

Caribou, Canines, Culture and Conversation

But before you leave, you can enjoy some bucket-list experiences.

“We picked May, because it’s the time of the caribou migration,” said Sherri. On a guided tour you can witness first-hand one of the few remaining mass migrations in North America, as caribou cows and calves head north to their summer calving grounds.

Another day, you’ll be the one who’s moving as you take part in a dog sledding tour. You’ll carve through the snow and ice with a team of huskies as you take in breathtaking views.

You’ll visit the island of Arvia'juaq and the nearby mainland point, Qikiqtaarjuk, which were both designated as national historic sites by the Government of Canada in 1995. Generations of Inuit families returned to these two places to camp and hunt beluga whales, seals, walrus and fish. (They still do to this day.) In fact, evidence of settlements here go back more than 900 years.

And after all of these amazing experiences, you can have tea with local Inuit elders, many of whom are masterful story tellers.

Bundle Up For This Mind-blowing Experience

OK, so how cold will it be?

“My understanding is that there will still be snow, and if it gets up to zero degrees Celsius, we’ll be lucky,” admitted Sherri. But it’s all part of the Canadian experience, she believes. “Until you experience this part of Canada, you don’t really know what it is to be truly Canadian,” she said.

Program Includes

  • Accommodation & 3 meals daily
  • Flight and ground transfer in Nunavut
  • Community based opportunities
  • Cultural excursions

Not Included

  • Flight cancellation and trip interruption service
  • Optional excursions

Each program is designed so that students gain the knowledge and skills to succeed in this sophisticated ever-changing industry. Exact program details subject to change. 

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